August 27, 2014

All of the Budget Should Be Scrutinized

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

Members of the Republican Study Committee and the Senate Steering Committee have proposed legislation to cut $2.5 trillion in spending over 10 years -- cuts that go beyond those proposed by House Republican leaders or President Obama.

Non-security discretionary spending (which excludes defense, homeland security, and veterans programs) would be cut to 2008 levels for 2011 and non-defense discretionary spending would be cut to 2006 levels for 2012-2021. While the bill includes some specific cuts, most of the savings are not specified.

The House is scheduled to vote today on a resolution instructing the House Budget Committee chairman to set 2011 budget allocations reducing non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels or less.

Both proposals rely primarily on discretionary spending for savings.  Increased scrutiny of appropriations is a positive development, but costly items such as tax breaks, defense, Social Security and Medicare should also be scrutinized. Even eliminating all discretionary spending would account for less than 40 percent of the budget -- less than 20 percent if defense is excluded.