Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s proposal to cut $3 trillion in spending is not what it appears to be.
A “trusted source” told Patriot Action Network that Boehner’s chief of staff admitted that the proposed cuts as rated by the Congressional Budget Office would come to only $29 billion between now and 2012.
But according to CNN’s Deirdre Walsh, the cuts in the first year are even less, amounting to a $24 billion reduction in non-defense discretionary spending. The way the Boehner proposal is structured, it will take more than 10 years for spending cuts of $1.2 trillion.
I looked into what “discretionary spending” means. This is what I found:
Discretionary spending is that part of the U.S. Federal Budget that includes everything that is not in the mandatory budget. The latter, mandatory budget, refers to entitlement programs required by law to provide certain benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare.
Discretionary spending in FY 2010 was $1.3 trillion, or 38% of total spending. More than half ($815 billion) was security spending, which includes the Department of Defense, overseas contingency programs and Homeland Security. Non-security spending was $491 billion, which was spent on such departments as Health and Human Services ($84 billion), Education ($64.3 billion), Housing and Urban Development ($42.8 billion) Justice ($27.6 billion), and Agriculture ($25 billion).
By my calculations, then, in FY 2010:
- Mandatory spending accounted for 62% of total spending.
- Discretionary spending accounted for 38% of total spending.
- Security discretionary spending was nearly 24% of total spending.
- Non-security discretionary spending was about 14% of total spending.
Boehner’s proposal to cut $24 billion in non-defense discretionary spending will come out of that 14% of total spending. But the news gets even worse. Boehner’s proposed cut of $24 billion is LESS THAN 5% of the total ($491 billion) non-security discretionary spending!!!!!
At this rate, our gargantuan official national debt of $14.3 trillion will just keep increasing. By this Christmas, 2011, US national debt will be $15 trillion — a figure that is more than 20% of the entire world’s combined GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and more than 100% of America’s GDP. This is the same 100%+ debt-to-GDP ratio of the bankrupt European PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain). See “Visualizing U.S. National Debt“.
Another flaw in the Boehner plan is that it will raise America’s national debt limit.
All of which prompted opposition from a large group of fiscal conservatives in the House, led by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. “While I thank the Speaker for fighting for Republican principles, I cannot support the plan that was presented to House Republicans this afternoon,” Jordan said in a written statement.
By the way, the fans of Rep. Allen West should know that West is not among this group. Instead, West has sent a message giving Boehner his support.
The major problem House conservatives have with Boehner’s plan is that a central part of their “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan — a requirement that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment before raising the debt ceiling – is not in Boehner’s bill. Boehner’s plan requires that both the House and Senate vote on an amendment before the end of the year, but doesn’t mandate that it must pass. Jordan and 38 other House Republicans have signed a pledge that they would not vote to raise the debt ceiling if it didn’t adhere to the principles in the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” bill that passed the House last week.
To send your e-mail to Mr. Boehner, click here.
Sign a petition that you are against any debt limit deal that doesn’t address the enormity of the fiscal challenges we face, here.