Cuts Are Cuts

I sense a tempest in a teapot brewing over the continuing resolution for 2011, specifically the notion of “real” versus “fake” cuts. I confess I’m mystified.

A $1 cut in the appropriations process (of which there are now 28 billion versus FY 2010 enacted) does not cut outlays by $1. It cuts the authority to engage in outlays by $1 (which down the line presumably means fewer outlays).

A $1 “rescission” (roughly $8.5 billion from prior mandatory appropriations) does exactly the same thing. It cuts the authority to engage in outlays by $1 (which down the line presumably means fewer outlays). So rescissions are just as real as cuts to appropriations levels.

Weirdly enough, reforms to mandatory programs (changes to the Pell Grant alone come to $35 billion in cuts in ten years) immediately cut outlays and the reductions grow in perpetuity (since the program was running in perpetuity). Of course, most of the long-term mandatory program changes do not score in this FY 2011 appropriations exercise (quirky Budget Act), so only $500 million of the Pell Grant savings are reflected in the $1.049 trillion figure.

Appropriations, rescissions, mandatory changes: cuts are cuts.

Most Popular

U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More