The other day I noted that the budget cuts agreed to last week contained lots of familiar faces. Many of the agencies and programs getting a trim were also cut in 1995 in a rescissions package put together by Gingrich Republicans. In the fifteen intervening years, federal spending exploded across the board, which means that an occasional trim job doesn’t accomplish much if the goal is to limit government.
The government’s air traffic controllers have been sleeping on the job, watching movies rather than guiding planes, and misdirecting the First Lady’s plane over Washington. There have been soaring numbers of airplane near misses caused by ATC errors over the last year.
What do these federal agencies and programs have in common?
In 1960 Sen. Barry Goldwater called the policies of the Eisenhower administration “a dime store New Deal”—a promise to deliver to the voters everything the Democrats promised, but at a discount. And that has been a fundamental dividing line in the Republican party ever since: Should the GOP challenge the Democrats’ fundamental commitment to an ever-bigger federal government, or only promise to deliver services more efficiently and at lower cost to taxpayers?
A new video produced by Cato's Caleb Brown and Austin Bragg does an excellent job of visualizing the minuscule spending cuts Republicans and Democrats agreed to this week. As the video shows, overall federal spending will actually increase this year despite the cuts.
My colleague, Tad DeHaven, showed us yesterday that even with the roughly $40 billion spending cut, total outlays will still rise substantially this year, fiscal 2011.
President Obama says that he supports a “balanced” plan of tax increases and spending cuts to tackle the government’s huge debt. The problem is that the fiscal mess in Washington is far from balanced.
Republican and Democratic leaders have agreed to cut federal funding by $38 billion this year (versus fiscal 2010). What does that mean for the overall spending picture?
It’s shaping up to being another good year for farm incomes. As a result, policymakers looking for spending cuts are finally turning an eye toward farm subsidies. An emerging target is the $5 billion in annual payments made to farmers…for basically just being farmers.
Pundits and politicians are all in agreement: Those were some big budget cuts in Friday night’s deal. “The largest annual spending cut in our history,” President Obama said. Speaker of the House John Boehner called it the “largest real dollar spending cut in American history.” Saturday’s front-page, upper-right headline in the Washington Post proclaimed: