Saturday, March 19, 2011

Budget Battle: Some Perspective

As you may know, Congress has been inching the FY11 budget forward all year.  This occurred because the last Congress failed to pass a single appropriation (0 of 12 appropriation bills).  Thus, we’ve been living under a CRA (Continuing Resolution Authority) for the last 6 months, and the knuckleheads just approved the latest one, which will last 3 weeks.  Why can’t we get a full year budget you ask? The problem: Reps want cuts, and Dems don’t.  Let’s see examine the magnitude of the proposed cuts.

The entire budget for fiscal year 2011 is about $3.8 trillion.  The projected deficit for this year is around $1.65 trillion – an astonishing figure.  The bar labeled “Discretionary” is about $1.05 trillion and is the source of the squabbling.  Mandatory spending needs no annual appropriation – things like Medicare and Social Security run on autopilot. 
The last bar, labeled “Cuts”, represents about $50 billion.  The Reps want to shave this amount from discretionary spending, but the Dems consider this draconian.  Get real people.  $50 billion out of a $3.8 trillion is budget dust – a rounding error. 


  1. Here's David Henderson's recent discussion on the validity of the work "mandatory:"

  2. How about we call mandatory spending "transfer payments". Or "Transfers and Distributions".

    Let's replace mandatory and discretionary with "necessary" and "unnecessary". Of course, if we were honest about the matter, "necessary" spending would be minuscule.