The House and Senate will put the finishing touches on last week’s budget crisis over the budget for 2011. While the President and the Republicans were busy in front of the cameras praising themselves for “victory”, the Congressional Budget Office was counting the “beans”. Remember the much publicized $38.5 billion in cuts? Well, it will only reduce the deficit by $352 million. That is less than 1% in claimed savings:
The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending. […]
The CBO study confirms that the measure trims $38 billion in new spending authority, but many of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts like water-and-sewer grants that don’t have an immediate deficit impact.
As Alex Seitz-Wald at Think Progress notes budget cuts helped Obama save some programs from the worst cuts “the fact remains that the cuts will be harmful to the economy and to the people who depend on valuable social safety net programs that will have their budgets cut.”
There is also the damage by $8.4 billion cut from the State Department and foreign aid budgets, a 14% budget reduction, that will affect some “critical diplomatic tools”
[C]hopping off $122 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s operating expenses and more than $1.4 billion from the State Department’s Economic Support Fund may cost us the ability to help critical countries transition to democracy, including Egypt and Tunisia. Turning our back on such assistance now is particularly problematic given how vulnerable nascent democracies in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as elsewhere, are to upheaval and violence.
It leaves military budget nearly intact so that any saving are wiped out by inflated defense spending”. The budget deal was suppose to cut $18.1 billion but Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for at least $540 billion for FY2011 and this budget deal funds DOD “just north of $530 billion” a figure that includes military construction.
That’s some victory, Barack.