Didn’t Congress announce budget cuts this year?

21 07 2011

Remember when the government recently announced $38 billion in budget cuts?  Sounds great, right?  Even though that’s only a small percentage of the overall budget, at least it’s something!  (I wasn’t sure if Congress knew how to reduce spending.)  Well, the Congressional Budget Office has analyzed the fiscal 2011 spending deal that Congress is voting on, and concluded that the spending cuts are just $352 million (with an “m”).  That’s less than .01% of what they had claimed to be cutting.

I know, there’s different ways to look at it.  Supposedly they are cutting some of what they wanted to spend.  But comparing the 2011 budget to the 2010 budget revealed only $352 million cut.  So I guess they were saying they’re saving billions by not spending more…

I wrote the above a few weeks ago but never published it, for whatever reasons.  But now it’s even more relevant, with the debt ceiling crisis.  I’m sure the situation is very complicated in a number of ways, but here’s how I see it.  Congress has to budget all their spending for the upcoming year, right?  I think it’s a legal requirement that they have to do that.  Now they supposedly don’t have the funding to pay Social Security and Medicare if they don’t raise the debt ceiling.  But these are expenses that are known ahead of time.  The exact amount may vary from month to month, but they shouldn’t be surprised at these bills due next month.  So why don’t they have the money to pay for it?  Have they already spent the money on something else?  And what happened to the budget cuts they were bragging about a few weeks ago?

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