The GOP campaign promise in 2010 midterm elections was to cut $100 billion from the feral gubmint’s bloated budget, as a way toward decreasing America’s super-gargantuan national debt of more than $14 TRILLION. The Demonrats, of course, are in a screaming-and-hair-pulling fit, opposed to any and all cuts.
House Republicans have passed two stopgap measures that achieve that level of cutting on a temporary basis. In lieu of bipartisan agreement on a longer-term spending plan, a two-week stopgap funding bill passed March 1 cut $4 billion from last year’s spending levels. A three-week extension, passed on Tuesday, cut $6 billion. Multiply those cuts out over an entire year, and House Republicans supposedly will hit their $100 billion mark.
But as Republicans gain ground in the fight over federal spending, a dispute already is simmering within the GOP’s ranks over just how aggressively to confront the White House and the Democratic Senate. A coalition of conservatives and tea partiers — led by Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Allen West (Fla.), Raul Labrador (Idaho), and Mike Pence (Ind.) — are pushing for more cuts and taking on Obama and the Demonrats, while Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders are content with what they’ve achieved thus far in the House — achievements that have an uncertain future in a Senate in which Demonrats still have a majority.
Here’s the bad news:
Even if the Republicans, by some miracle, succeed in cutting not just the promised $100 billion, but all discretionary non-essential spending, the federal government’s project revenue income in 2011 will still be less than mandatory spending — required expenditure to which the government is obliged! In other words, we’d still be accumulating more debt!
There are two types of government spending:
- Discretionary spending, which accounts for roughly one-third of all Federal spending, includes money for things like the Army, FBI, the Coast Guard, and highway projects. Congress explicitly determines how much to spend (or not spend) on these programs on an annual basis.
- Mandatory spending accounts for two-thirds of all government spending. This kind of spending is authorized by permanent laws. It includes entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and Food Stamps — programs through which individuals receive benefits based on their age, income, or other criteria. Spending levels in these areas are dictated by the number of people who sign up for these benefits, rather than by Congress.
Here’s what Jeffrey H. Anderson discovered, in his “Mandatory Spending to Exceed all Federal Revenues — 50 Years Ahead of Schedule,” Weekly Standard, March 16, 2011:
We have now gotten to the point — as I noted yesterday — where if national defense, interstate highways, national parks, homeland security, and all other discretionary programs somehow became absolutely free, we’d still have a budget deficit. The White House Office of Management and Budget projects that in the current fiscal year (2011), mandatory spending alone will exceed all federal receipts. So even if we didn’t spend a single cent on discretionary programs, we still wouldn’t be able to balance our budget this year — let alone pay off any of the $14 trillion in debt that we have already accumulated.
Simply put: the (Dis)United States of America is broke.
We are so screwed….