Friday, April 15, 2011

Those Aren't Cuts!

Remember that budget deal that all of those weasels in Congress waited until the very last freaking minute to agree upon? Yeah, that's the one. And remember how they were all smiles afterward and acted like they had accomplished something monumental? (I know that whenever they do nothing they think it's monumental, but this time they were really pleased with their own act.) And then after it was all said and done we were told that they managed to cut about $38 billion dollars? Remember? Of course you do! It was only a couple of days ago for cryin' out loud. It turns out that the $38 billion dollars that they claim to be cutting isn't anywhere close to what they actually cut. No, in fact, the amount that they actually cut is so ridiculous that it seems damn near pointless to cut it at all. It really is a "Why bother?" scenario.

This new but not surprising information comes to us from the fine folks over there at The Washington Post. They learned from the Congressional Budget Office that "A federal budget compromise that was hailed as historic for proposing to cut about $38 billion would reduce federal spending by only $352 million this fiscal year, less than 1 percent of the bill’s advertised amount". Now look, I'm not one to be someone to claim "Oh, that's just a drop in the bucket." But, come on! $352 million?! Less than one freaking percent?! How did this happen? I'll tell you how this happened. It happened in part because "...$13 billion to $18 billion of the cuts involve money that existed only on paper and was unlikely to be tapped in the next decade." Oh, good! They're trying to fix our impending fiscal doom with accounting tricks. Next up? Fun house mirrors! And they act so freaking proud of themselves.

Here's the best part. Even though those $352 million in cuts will happen, for some reason, no one felt like factoring in "emergency" money for military action. You know. Like if we end up in Libya or something like that. (Yeah, like that's really going to happen. Wait. Didn't we....? Yeah. We did. Hmm. Disregard that statement.) Now, I don't know why they wouldn't factor those things in. If I'm doing a household budget and I have emergency money that I have spent or am spending, I'm going to have to factor in that it's going to get used. There's no way around that. You can call it whatever you want, but you still have to count it. But I'm guessing that the reason that they didn't want to count it when they were forming the budget out of snake oil is because if they did then "...the overall spending for this fiscal year may actually increase, by more than $3 billion." Oh, for cryin' out loud!

Their little accounting tricks don't end there. "A Washington Post analysis of the 459-page budget revealed at least 98 cases in which Congress took back unused IOUs and called it a cut." HOW is that a cut? Don't answer that. There's more. "When the Capitol Visitor Center was under construction, lawmakers allotted $621 million to pay for it. The project wound up costing less than $600 million. In the compromise budget, lawmakers took back $15 million of the unused budget authority." Well, I should hope that they took it back! They didn't USE IT!

I'm making myself crazy here. This is insane. Instead of saving any money at all, Congress has very well (and probably very likely) passed a budget that is going to be costing the country MORE money. And people wonder why folks get so up in arms about spending! It's because it is out of control. President Barry said the other day that the greatest threat to our national security was our debt. And if he truly believes that and he ends up signing this budget, then we are so scroomed that there's not even any point. If both sides of Congress are going to flat out lie to us, it's over. And both sides, by saying that this budget cuts $38 billion dollars, are lying to us. Thus, it's over. We're scroomed. Goodbye, sweet America.

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