Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Chart

Click to enlarge

Obama's Deficit Reduction Commission (familiarly known as The Catfood Commission) is charged with coming up with ways to reduce the deficit, with "all options on the table" -- except for raising taxes on the rich of course. That is verboten.

But in his speech in Pittsburgh the other day, Obama himself said that his administration would reduce the "discretionary budget" of the US Government by $1 trillion over the next three years. He vowed to cut everything except national security and defense spending. That's an average of $333 billion per year. Where, exactly, is it going to come from?

The chart above is from 2006, so it doesn't reflect today's discretionary budget, but proportionally things haven't changed all that much.

Observe: the Defense Department has far and away the lion's share of the Discretionary Budget, at $438.8 billion in 2006. All of the rest of the Discretionary Budget combined doesn't amount to the DoD's total ($401.7 billion for everything else vs $438.8 billion for the DoD.)

So where, exactly, is His Serenity going to find $333 billion per year to cut if DoD and other National Security items remain untouched?

What the holy hopping hell is he talking about?

Note, the chart is from the Foundation for Global Community a fine outfit that deserves every bit of support.


  1. And Pentagon/CIA/spook spending is not on that graph, since it doesn't exist.

  2. Well, turns out...

    The 2006 chart shows a similar proportional relationship between Pentagon spending vs other discretionary budget items, but the absolute amounts are -- in most cases -- spectacularly greater now than they were then.

    For example, according to reports the 2010 budget for the Pentagon, including the various wars, is $708 billion; what you hear is that it is actually $1 trillion, but that's hard to demonstrate in the budget (doesn't mean it isn't true, though).

    The announced Black Budget figure for 2010 is $56 billion, which we can assume is half or less than the "real" Black Budget.

    And there are two budget figures for each Federal budget item for 2010:

    The budgeted amount and the stimulus supplemented amount. In some cases the supplement is as big as the budgeted amount.

    That's true for the Department of Labor, for example. And in other cases, the supplement is a great deal more than the budgeted amount: Department of Education, for example.

    And in the 2006 budget, Department of Homeland Security didn't exist, so there is no line item for it. The 2010 total funding figure for DHS is $45.5 billion, which of course cannot be cut according to Our Rulers.

    My rough calculation shows about $267 billion in supplementary funding; if all of that were cut, it would still be $60 billion short of the target of cutting $330 billion in 2011, and it would be a one-time cut.

    Where would the same size cuts come from in 2012 and 2013, when all stimulus funding will have long since expired?

    Our Rulers have already said they will not cut Defense or "Security" budgets.

    But they would have to eliminate about 2/3rds of the non-Defense/Security budget to reach the budget cutting goals they've set. Entire departments eliminated?

    No, they'll cut from the other side, going after Social Security and Medicare benefits, which are not part of the discretionary budgets. They can easily find $330 billion by cutting SS benefits and Medicare payments.

    Make the old folks eat cat food.


    (Note: They're also talking about revenues from "letting the Bush Tax Cuts on the rich expire," which is calculated to increase revenues by about $100 billion a year. Still have to cut hundreds of billions from somewhere else, specifically the old and the sick.)