Members of Congress are pleased they finally passed a plan that raises the debt ceiling and deals with budget deficits. But for the talk about “cuts,” government spending will continue to increase over the next decade. When will all these “cuts” eventually lead to reductions?
Members of Congress loved exchanging high-fives last week.
After months of bickering, they approved a debt ceiling plan that will increase federal spending by more than $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years. Not only that, the Budget Control Act of 2011 looks to add at least $7 trillion to the national debt by 2021.
What’s odd is that these weren’t the figures being thrown around as the deal was approved. All we heard about were the drastic “cuts” being implemented.
How can lawmakers make a big fuss over budget “cuts” when spending will actually increase? This whole debate is an example of how political platitudes trumped honest answers.
The “cuts” being heralded do not mean reductions in current levels of spending. They pertain to a decrease in projected growth; the deal slows the rate of spending increases over the next 10 years.
According to the March baseline as calculated by the Congressional Budget Office, discretionary spending was projected to be $1.087 trillion in 2012. But with the cap placed under the Budget Control Act, discretionary spending will “only” be $1.043 trillion. This results in a “cut” of $44 billion in next year’s budget.
In other words, these “cuts” show the difference of how much spending would have increased under the old budget plan and how much it will rise according to this new deal.
That’s inspiring rhetoric, but I wish our legislators would resolve one issue: When will all these “cuts” lead to actual spending reductions? My guess, not anytime soon.
Jerry Moore is the opinions editor for Suburban Life Publications. Contact him at (630) 368-8930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.