In Soviet America Spending Cuts Go Up!

When is an increase in spending a “spending cut”?

A logical person would say, “never” and would be correct. However, a special group of people known as politicians have determined to change the meanings of words so that increasing the amount of money spent can actually be called a “spending cut.” While this sounds like something from Orwell’s 1984, it is actually from Washington DC in the here and now. The recent “debt deal” involving raising the “debt ceiling” reportedly contains upwards of $2 trillion worth of “cuts” over the next decade. Never mind that such a “reduction” (if it were actually so) is still only 1/10 of the annual deficit, (or overage) and would not come anywhere close to forcing Congress to balance the federal budget (not that I believe a Balance Budget Amendment would). Congressman Ron Paul said that in order to balance the budget Congress would need to, “implement large spending cuts now, starting with overseas expenditures and unconstitutional bureaucracies.”

Chris Moody of The Ticket writes, “After 10 years’ time… there will actually be an increase of about $1.8 trillion.”

Only by using trickery and sleight of hand can Congress turn a spending increase of $1.8 trillion into a “cut” of nearly $2 trillion. They have done this by changing the definitions of words in such a way that a reduction in a proposed increase is considered a “cut.” According to CBO (Congressional Budget Office) estimates Social Security will “cut” $12 billion by 2021 even though spending caps will increase from $623 million in 2012 to $1.3 billion in 2017 through 2021. That is because the increases in spending were reduced by $47 million in 2012 and as much as $2.3 billion in 2021. Spending still goes up, though by a smaller amount than previously projected. This is just one example of how Congress plans to “cut” the deficit by $2 trillion over the next 10 years while increasing spending by nearly the same amount.

2 Comments
  1. The credit rating is the first of many days of reckoning. The world is deeply interested in seeing that Congress and the President not fuck this up, but the proof is in the results, and the results are another smoke and mirrors game without any substantial spending reduction.

    We can throw out more incumbents. Put in people who will tear down the sea of red tape and put our nation’s house back in order. Constitutionally amend to require a balanced budget.

    The 800lb gorilla in the room is our American apathy towards the hard work that comes with keeping our liberties. A lot of people can see the writing on the wall if there isn’t some tearing down of the state.

    Yes, tearing down of the state. A good garden MUST be weeded OFTEN.

  2. This is not sleight of hand or trickery. This is common economics in programs that support human beings. The cost of living rises each year. Sometimes those increases are enough to warrant raising the benefits a person gets in order to maintain their current standard of living. This means that the budget for that program will have to go up. If congress says ok it can go up but you can not raise it as much as you want to but you can raise it this lower amount it means that the people on the program will likely still get their cost of living rasie but the overhead of the managing of that program will likely be diminished which could include worker furloughs or layoffs. In some cases the cost of living increase is reduced slightly in order to avoid laying off workers but furloughs are used for short term relief. Also, other things like purchasing of supplies is reduced and I have seen it where workers had to bring their own pens from home in order to be able to do their jobs. The other thing that causes a human services agency to ask for more money in a budget is the potential increase in persons served.In times like we are experiencing right now they can expect a dramatic increase in the number of people on welfare. They look at the percentage increase they have experienced over the last few years and guesstimate how much of an increase they are going to have over the upcoming year. Then they figure that along with any cost of living raises into their proposed budget for the upcoming year. If congress denies them that entire proposed budget then that is a “cut ” to their ability to spend based on their estimation of their need.

    Where we are missing the boat here is in the fact that many government offices have spending sprees close to the end of the fiscal year so they use up all their allocated budget if they did not actually have a need for the money they requested. This allows them to ask for the same amount of money or a larger budget the next year even though they really did not need the original funds. They have the spending spree because they lose any left over money either in the form of the treasury taking it our of their account and placing it back into the general ledger or by thier proposed budget being reduced by that same amount. They have the well we might as well spend it because we will lose it if we don’t. I think this mentality is wasteful. I think we should reward the departments that actually do their job, whatever it is, and come in under their proposed budget. We could give a 1% of the total amount they come in under budget to the department to disperse to the employees as a bonus. Then we could give an additional 1% of that amount to them to hold for use for investment into measurable cost/fraud reduction measures other than laying off or furloughing employees. The rest of the funds would be taken back and applied to the national debt directly rather than putting it back into the general fund. Every 5 years evaluate which department has contributed the largest percentage of their total budget for that 5 year period toward paying down the national debt and exempt them from giving up their surpluses for that year. This would encourage department directors to be far more cautious about how their money is spent and would stop the spend it or lose it mentality.

    We need to clean up the waste and poor management before we hack away at social programs that help human beings in times of hardship. Of course there is fraud in those but my plan would improve the fraud situation. The other side of that is that it is not right to punish those who hit a rough patch and then strive to get off of welfare by gutting the program just because there are those that will abuse the system. There is far more waste from mismanagement in government than in all the welfare fraud put together. One perfect example is the massive duplication of services in each department such as having massive Information Technology systems that are only being used at about 1/100th of their capacity in every branch of government. We have numerous hugely expensive data centers and each is operated by a different branch of government. They barely talk to one another so welfare fraud is easier. Some of those issues have been addressed by law but not by actual technology infrastructure. Therefore even though they can legally check with Social Security or the IRS to find out if you are having income reported to them that you have not reported to food stamps, technologically this is not done in real time and therefore can result in weeks, months, years, or even never actually finding out that a person is actually working while getting benefits. We need to reduce every department’s budget by the amount they actually use on technology each year, move all their individual technology assets and employees to a central IT department and start reducing the number of pieces of hardware and copies of licensed software that the fed is using. We currently have something like 22 data centers which could be replaced by four fully redundant centers, one in each time zone of the continental US to lessen the likelihood that they would all go down at once from a natural disaster. This would significantly reduce the outgo for IT related services and actually modernize and improve them to meet the needs of what should be an increase in their usage as we seek ways of cutting costs by reducing the number of pieces of paper that are mailed out to people by the government.

    Those are just a few of my ideas about how we can realistically clean up Washington’s waste instead of gutting social programs. Oh yeah and as far as building infrastructure, well you know all those people on welfare that have all these job skills who are not lazy and love their country and are just going through a rough patch, lets put them to work. Work for Welfare. Oh, that will also get rid of the lazy bums that won’t work at all. The only exclusion from the Work for Welfare program are those with a certified disability that absolutely prevents them from getting out of their bed and even then if they ahve the ability to work on a computer then they can work form home on the computer doing something to benefit the community that they are dependent on for their support. We could put FIOS to every door in America and lease it to any provider for them to sell to the consumer and make money enough to pay for it and begin to pay down the national debt. It worked with TVA and electricity so why not with FIOS.

    REAL SOLUTIONS not just tax or no tax and cut or no cut There are other things to review and congress needs to get off its collective @$$ and do their job.

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