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AP: People Won’t Notice Big Budget Cuts

From our ‘the hell you say’ file. (Which, by the way, is getting pretty full.) Via the always dependable Associated Press:

Spending cuts not expected to dent $1.5T deficit

By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer Tue Apr 12, 2011

WASHINGTON – The $38 billion in spending cuts agreed to last week won’t prevent this year’s budget deficit from setting another record high, estimated at $1.5 trillion.

Most of the agreed-to spending cuts either affect future budgets or amount to accounting gimmicks that won’t reduce actual spending.

The Treasury Department reported Tuesday that the deficit already totals $829.4 billion through the first six months of the budget year — a figure that until 2009 would have been the biggest ever for an entire year. For March alone, the government ran a deficit of $188 billion.

This is an astonishing fact. It is simply staggering. And doubly so that the AP would admit it.

President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans averted a government shutdown last week by agreeing to the largest-ever spending cuts for a single year. But David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York, said those cuts amount to a "rounding error" in this year’s deficit.

The cuts include unspent money from the 2010 census, which is completed, and $2.5 billion from the most recent repeal of highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. They also include $3.5 billion in unused bonuses for states that enroll more children in a health care program for lower-income families.

Wyss expects the deficit will surpass the record of $1.41 trillion hit in 2009. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office raised its estimate earlier this year from $1.1 trillion to $1.5 trillion

The CBO was forced to admit this because we are soon going to zoom past the current debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion.

And we have this additional insight, also from the Associated Press:

Most people won’t notice these big budget cuts

By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press Tue Apr 12, 2011

WASHINGTON – It’s touted as the biggest one-time rollback of domestic spending ever, but most folks will be hard-pressed to notice.

After all, it’s just 1 percent of what the government will lay out this year.

The number of security officers at airports won’t be reduced. National park campgrounds won’t close. There will still be enough meat inspectors to prevent temporary plant closures. Disadvantaged schools won’t see cuts in federal aid. And stiff cuts to grants for community action agencies serving the poor were averted.

Basically, the things most people expect from the government won’t change very much if Congress approves the cuts unveiled Tuesday, the details from that late-night deal that kept federal operations going.

Thank God! But notice what the AP sees as the role of the federal government.

For starters, the budget cuts come after two years of generous increases awarded to domestic accounts when Democrats controlled both Congress and the White House. And they total only $38 billion out of the $3.8 trillion the government will spend on everything this year, including Social Security and other retirement programs.

So there you have it. These "big cuts" amount to almost exactly 1% of government spending for the year.

If the government were a family living on $60,000 a year, that’s equal to a $600 cut.

And it is the equivalent of a family which is borrowing 41 cents for every dollar it spends deciding to cut down by buying a cheaper brand of toilet paper.

Democrats had earlier warned the original House measure — it would have cut more than $60 billion — would have had draconian effects including widespread furloughs of federal workers, temporary shutting of meat processing plants, delays in processing Social Security applications and a big cut in the maximum Pell Grant for college education. Most of the more stringent cuts originally passed by the House have been reversed, and the maximum Pell Grant still will be $5,550 for the next academic year…

Huh? Is the AP trying to pretend that the Democrats saved us from all the above? What would have caused "widespread furloughs of federal workers."

Clearly the author of this fantasy is conflating a $60 billion dollars in cuts with a government shutdown. (Which at most would have furloughed only one quarter of the federal workforce.) Perhaps Mr. Taylor is channeling Charlie Sheen.

But the AP is willing to say anything to try to make their Democrat masters and Mr. Obama out to be the heroes of the day.

But there will be no more Pell Grants for summer school. Local police chiefs will find it harder to win federal grants for equipment upgrades and emergency preparedness training — they were cut by $1.2 billion. Non-profit groups looking to open new community health centers will have $600 million less to compete for. And it just got more difficult for rural towns seeking grants to build new drinking water and wastewater treatment plants. Grants for them were cut by $1 billion

And never mind that all of these cuts – every last one of them – were also in each of Mr. Obama’s previous budgets.

What is more, it turns out that many of the cuts officially unveiled on Tuesday are illusory. Almost $18 billion — just less than half — involve simply mopping up pools of unused money spread across the budget. While still counting as cuts, the money from those pools can be used to shore up day-to-day agency budgets and other programs like health research. Admittedly, those cuts don’t reduce the deficit.

"There’s a huge chunk of money here that is … spending that wasn’t about to go out the door, so the impact is going to be smaller than we anticipated based on what the purported size of the cuts were," said Democratic budget expert Scott Lilly of the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Who probably picked the cuts for Mr. Obama.

But Lilly and others warn that the remaining cuts will have an impact over time. Deferring federal building construction means higher maintenance costs. Cuts to water and sewer grants mean the backlog of such projects will just get larger.

And, more immediately, the Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal help to those who can’t afford it, would serve fewer people. The same would be true for job training programs, community health centers and a program that mentors the children of people in prison…

And to think the AP claims nobody will notice these big cuts. Obviously, they were just being bitterly sarcastic.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “AP: People Won’t Notice Big Budget Cuts”

  1. tranquil.night says:

    You could cut over a trillion in spending and these reports would still be accurate.

    “Wow… if we don’t raise the debt ceiling the moment we hit it, we instantly default on all of our loans, and the Social Security vending machine immediately runs out of Zagnut bars and Fig Newtons?   For years Democrats have assured us that Big Government is perfectly solvent, while simultaneously warning us that if we don’t let the government keep borrowing money forever, it will explode.”

    DocZero: “Hostage to Debt” http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42907

    As Rush just demonstrated, both parties make the correct moral argument and vote against raising the debt – when they’re out of power. Now that they’re fighting for power, naturally both want to raise the ceiling.

    • proreason says:

      I heard about 20 mins of Rush today, and to paraphrase what I heard:

      ‘the lying weasels lied about the budget cuts and now the lying weasels are fixing to lie about Ryan’s budget and then the liars are going to lie about the debt ceiling and at the end of the day they aren’t going to do jack because they will lie that they can’t stir things up with an election coming up’

      Again, I paraphrased, but I’m pretty confident Rush isn’t too happy with the post election performance of Republicans.

      But if I were a lying weasel with 22 more months sucking at the gubamint’s teat, I wouldn’t want to muss anybody’s hair either. Heck, 22 months at that teat can set anybody up for life.

      Tea Party congress critters…take heed. Some people who vote are going to be watching how YOU vote very carefully.

  2. TerryAnne says:

    If the government were a family living on $60,000 a year, that’s equal to a $600 cut.

    This one killed me. Do they not realize that, after taxes and bills throughout the year, $60,000 isn’t a lot; that the family is lucky to be bringing home $45,000? And that the $600 is taken out before taxes, so that’s even less the family has?

    So, let’s play math teacher:
    $45,000 (after state and federal taxes) for a family of 4; 2 kids in school
    Lets assume $1000/month for mortgage (average in America)

    That leaves: $33,000

    Food: while normally $200 a month, prices are going up…so we’ll say $300/month, which includes eating out every so often just to feel human

    Down to: $29,400

    Electricity: average $150/month…now up to $200/month.

    Now: $27,000

    Internet, cable, phone: $100/month

    Getting worse: $25,800

    Car payment: $250/month…for two cars

    $19,800

    Car insurance for both parents: let’s say about $200/month for both, given they both have good records, are over 25 and have economical cars

    $17,400

    Medical: For a family of four, and assuming the $60,000 is one parent working. So…let’s say about $350/month for a decent health care plan.

    $13,200

    Kids need to be clothed for school: $300 per kid/once a year

    $12,600

    Try to save: $200/month (any sort of plan…savings, 401K…)

    $10,200

    Oh…and let’s take out $600…

    $9,600

    Etc, etc.

    And this is assuming the very, very low end of the scale. Depending on where a family of four who makes $60,000 lives…they’re either ok or dirt poor (here in DC, there’s no such thing as a $1000 mortgage…try $2500…so they start off worse). $9,600 isn’t much and can easily get washed up elsewhere.

    Who are these people, really? Are they that pampered and entitled that they just can’t see?

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      If the government were a family living on $60,000 a year, they would be in debt to the tune of several million. Naturally, on the face of it, that is an impossible analogy, much as I understand your point. Plus, the family living on 60K would be going to the mob for loans, not to mention spending those loans on recycling and expensive “green” products while getting their gas for their cars at the most expensive places, while they simultaneously giving those gas stations additional “walking around” money which helps put their kids through expensive US universities. And when one of those kids beats the crap out of your kid, you make sure you don’t say anything to offend the parents.

      The analogy isn’t perfect but you can draw a correlation in most cases.

    • Right of the People says:

      Another analogy that’s been around for a long time, if the gubmint was a business, it would be in chapters 1-13 in bankruptcy court for the next thousand years. If we still had debtor’s prison, the gubmint would be in for 20 or 30 consecutive life sentences.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      In any case, this is where the ruling class pats us dumb, drooling mouth-breathers on the head and tells us “you just don’t understand how ‘big money’ works, m’lad”. This sort of elitist condescension irks us to the point of great anger. We can see that you can’t spend what you don’t have, but the government seems to think it can. Then, they have the ability to print money, which exacerbates the problem with hyperinflation and causing the masses to require slow-to-come pay increases just to stay at the same level as last year.

      Again, it’s lawyers who manipulate language and try to cloud simple issues and who make simple things complicated so as to confuse and disguise. Trust me, they need to be responded to in simple terms. When they start talking in complications, answer them with the simple. First, translate what they said into simple terms and then provide a simple response. It’s what Regan used to do. This is what caused O’Neill to call him an “amiable dunce” because O’Neill was a once-practiced lawyer who would wow juries with his “vast knowledge”. But Reagan would respond in simple terms that some considered pedestrian and even ignorant, but at least everyone understood him and he was able to make his point.

      Now, we have at the top of our political “food-chain” a bunch of people who think they are smart and are only gifted with the ability to use high-sounding words and then connect that to ideological mistakes. When faced with reality, they scoff and ridicule because someone had the nerve to uncover their vocabulary as just a paintjob over a bunch of rust.

  3. JohnMG says:

    The reason “Most people won’t notice these big budget cuts” is because there weren’t any. But most people WILL notice the uptick in the costs of essential goods and services due to the inevitable inflationary tsunami which is soon to follow.


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