Another Half-Hearted Deficit Reduction Proposal

I guess something is better than nothing, but in this case it will fall far short of what is necessary to make a real difference. Some Republicans in the House of Representatives have come up with a “Spending Reduction Act” which promises to reduce federal spending by trillions over the next decade (translation: a couple hundred billion each year, a small fraction of the current deficit). The act includes no cuts from the Department of Defense and eliminates no significant programs, agencies, or departments. A handful of piddly programs, such as the $1 million mohair subsidy, would be eliminated. All to the good, but it’s still just a drop in the bucket.

As this commentary points out, the lion’s share of the projected savings are to come from freezing non-defense discretionary spending at 2006 levels. This would in fact be a real cut, but what is the likelihood that Congress will hold the line over ten years in the face of all the yammering from special interest groups? And to insist that the DoD is just the right size is madness. We’ll keep an eye on this; expect there to be all sorts of wailing in Congress that even these modest spending reductions will be “slashing essential programs to the bone” and the like.

About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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4 Responses to Another Half-Hearted Deficit Reduction Proposal

  1. worldtake says:

    The fact is, that if we want to have a country, we have to run it and that takes money. Should we continue to try to save money where ever possible? Of course. We constantly hear from various groups talk about cutting spending, until those cuts effect the goods and services that members of a particular group hold sacrosanct and then of course that particular money should continue being spent.
    I am so sick of hearing the right-wing groups complaining about social programs, like Medicare and social security — which countless millions of our brothers and sisters depend on to survive — while the bulk at any cutbacks in our military industrial complex, which accounts for more spent money than all social programs put together.

    • Dr. J says:

      I don’t think the proposed bill I linked to made any change to Social Security or Medicare; those programs aren’t considered “discretionary.”

      The fact is, every dollar in the federal budget has some group somewhere that depends on it and considers it sacrosanct. Contractors, subsidy recipients, etc., all depend for some or all of their livelihood on these programs. The only way out of the red ink is going to be some pain for everybody.

  2. Jeff Jewell says:

    2010 budget numbers show Defense = 20%, Social Security = 20%, Medicare/Medicaid/Chip = 21%, Social “Safety Net” Programs = 14% (this is welfare, etc.)

    So “social programs” = 55% of the budget, military = 20%

    I’m not going to argue that 20% for military isn’t too high (it almost certainly is), but it certainly does not exceed all spending on social programs – and never has ( at least not in the last 40-50 years).

  3. Pingback: Mr. President, Step Away from the Plastic | The Western Tradition

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