The Congressional “Super Committee” is a sham, for a few reasons. First, it allows Congress to once again abdicate its responsibility to manage the federal budget. As usual, Congress’s reputation for being spineless remains intact by either kicking the can down the road or appointing a “Blue Ribbon” panel to take the heat.
Second, despite all the bluster & machinations, there will be NO spending cuts! It’s all show.
Every year we are treated to the same theatrics. The false urgency of republicans, the whining of democrats & every year we spend more money.
I must admit I got caught up in the theatre, that the defense budget (or any department) would be cut & actually started to buy into the draconian defense cuts argument.
I wasn’t thinking; that is until I listened to Rush Limbaugh today. He reminded me of something I already knew but simply forgot to account for: Baseline Budgeting.
I wrote a short article explaining it a while ago. It went as follows:
Here’s a quick scenario. This guy has a job (what’s that?). He works hard & is noticed by the boss. The boss comes to him & says he deserves a raise & he’ll make it happen within a few weeks. He is told the raise is expected to be 5%. That night he rushes home to tell his wife (or husband in some states) the good news. She says that 5% will sure come in handy.
A few weeks pass & sure enough, he gets that raise. The boss, however, says he could only afford 3%. The guy is still thankful that he received a raise at all.
He goes home & shows his wife his paycheck. The wife had already calculated & adjusted their budget for the increase. She takes one look at the check & exclaims, ” You got a 2% cut in your pay?”
That is base line budgeting & is how our government calculates the budget every year. All departments get automatic increases. If they don’t increase by as much as originally intended, it’s a cut (usually draconian).
So when you hear that they in Washington are going to cut the budget, you best believe it’s a lie. If you spend more than last year, you haven’t cut your budget.
Total federal spending amounts to $3.73 trillion for FY 2011. If both Houses of the Congress were to vote to just freeze spending for FY 2012 at FY 2011 levels, the CBO would have to score that legislation as a $9 trillion budget cut over ten years!
We wouldn’t actually spend one dime less in FY 2012 than we did in FY2011, but because of the baseline budget rules, CBO would have no choice but to report a $9 trillion cut to federal spending over that following ten-year period.