Does anyone really believe this deal cuts spending?

With yesterday’s overwhelming vote in favor of the debt plan in the House, no one expects the Senate not to deliver on putting it on President Barack Obama’s desk. But given pace at the plan has been pushed through Congress, details on what it actually does are becoming clear; and I’m not talking about what media reports say. No, I’m referring to the spending cuts that won’t likely happen, as Chris Edwards notes (emphasis mine):

The “cuts” in the deal are only cuts from the CBO “baseline,” which is a Washington construct of ever-rising spending. And even these “cuts” from the baseline include $156 billion of interest savings, which are imaginary because the underlying cuts are imaginary.

No program or agency terminations are identified in the deal. None of the vast armada of federal subsidies are targeted for elimination. Old folks will continue to gorge themselves on inflated benefits paid for by young families and future generations. None of Senator Tom Coburn’s or Senator Rand Paul’s specific cuts were included.

The federal government will still run a deficit of $1 trillion next year. This deal will “cut” the 2012 budget of $3.6 trillion by just $22 billion, or less than 1 percent.

I wouldn’t put my money on the outlying spending cuts actually happening and the commission tasked with coming up with $1.5 trillion in additional savings will also put tax reform on the table, which will likely mean more revenues for the government.

There are many neoconservatives concerned with spending cuts to defense, which could be substantial if this commission is unable to come to an agreement on cuts. Spending cuts in this area of the budget are not a bad idea, especially since the defense budget has grown out of control over the last several years to levels not seen since World War II.

In the end, this may serve as a political victory in some respects for one side or another, but the fundamental problems with the budget, such as entitlements, have been left untouched.


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