Neither a Democrat nor a Republican is seriously proposing any budget cuts, so what we are witnessing is a totally dishonest charade. Anywhere but our federal government a budget cut would mean less money was to be spent next year than was spent this year. This is not so with baseline budgeting used by our government.
In baseline budgeting the Congressional Budget Office begins with expenditures in a “baseline year,” uses a formula established by Congress and projects a growth rate for the following ten years. A “budget” that produces a number smaller than this projection is a “cut.” Simply freezing expenditures at 2011 levels would be considered a “cut” of as much as nine trillion dollars over the next ten years. No proposal approaches a number that large. Another little detail is all the “one time” rescues our government made for the automobile industry, banks, Wall Street”, etc. are now part of the baseline being used to project future budget numbers.
The current “negotiations” to extend our debt limit in exchange for budget “cuts” at some future date will result in one certain outcome; we will be further in debt and our government will be spending much more money in the future than it is today. Nothing this Congress or President can do will control the actions of future Congresses or Presidents. Our only real hope is to be rid of the baseline budgeting process and make large, real cuts in the budget for FY 2011-2012.
David Greer, Cambridge