Welfare

When Is a Funding Cut Not Really a Funding Cut?

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Early attempts to move the state-budget bailout bill that passed in the House this afternoon failed to win enough votes because they were funded using "emergency" deficit spending. The bill that passed today finally picked up enough votes when Democrats grudgingly found a way to offset the cost. The trick, as Katherine Mangu-Ward just noted, was to take money originally intended to be used for food stamps.

That hasn't played too well with folks who want to have it all: The New York Times editorial board, for example, argued that although the bill pays for programs that are "badly needed," the use of food stamps to offset the cost of those programs "is a cowardly blight on Congress." What kind of heartless, out-of-touch elites would cut food stamps?

Answer: the kind who already gave the program a giant funding boost, and are merely paring back after finding out that the extra money they put toward the program would go further than originally expected.

When the stimulus passed, it included a big hike in funding for the food stamp program. But the extra funding was calculated based on a projected inflation rate for food prices that turned out to be far too high, meaning the extra funding would extend until 2018 or 2019. The offsets in the new bill trim those added benefits back so that they'll only last until 2015, which is still two years longer than originally anticipated. So the food stamp cuts aren't exactly cuts; instead, Congress is scaling back temporary bonus funding that turned out to have had more money set aside than was actually necessary to achieve its intended goals.

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  1. This is the sort of thing that absolutely torpedoes port-side jeremiads that taxes are too low. Every time an extra dollar is found wandering around Capitol Hill, it’s immediately seized and spent (along with a few of its borrowed friends).

  2. You mean they’re not going to let people starve? I had such great hopes.

    *kicks pebble*

    1. Give us some time, Aresen, just give us some time…

      1. I’m arready there, piker.

        Do you know how fucking busy I am?! You gotta work arot harder to catch up to me…

  3. Oh no, they’re not robbing the Food Stamp Trust Fund now are they? My collegiate little sis made me a delicious EBT gourmet dinner not too long ago. All the kids are doing it. Taking Wholefoods out of college kids’ mouths; now, that ain’t right.

  4. The highest level of spending on any program becomes the new baseline, which makes any reduction from that level an act of cruel brutality.

    The highest level of a tax rate becomes the new baseline, which makes any reduction from that level an inexcusable handout to the wealthy.

    1. Every program seeks to solve a problem. However, the problem is never solved (e.g. no matter how many bridges one fixes, there will always be more “dangerous” bridges to fix.)
      Therefore, the government has never been given “all the money necessary” to fix the problem. So it stands to reason that anyone who even wants to keep spending at current levels, not to mention cutback, is a greedy, ignorant, selfish, etc. etc. who is not interested in solving the plight of whomever is victims of the terrible problem. Unfortunately this resonates with enough voters to keep the big spenders in power.

  5. Oh, good. The fact that this cost is “offset” means the fed won’t have to keep printing money to finance the federal debt.

    Oh, wait. The Fed announced today that it will continue doing just that. The teachers, it seems, just passed Go, and are thus entitled to their $200 of Monopoly money.

    1. I think you left a couple of zeroes off the end of that number.

  6. I’d like to cautiously…. I say again cautiously point out that in future legislative debates, be they at the state, municipal or federal level, it’s going to be much harder to pass the laugh test about “emergency” conditions within the budget.

    Given that say, here in Washington, every year since like 1992 has been considered a legislative budget emergency, even during the best of times, now we have an idea what at “real” emergency looks like.

    Nothing like bringin’ on the pain to help people remember what real pain feels like.

    1. Well, they’ve pushed deficit spending about as far as it can go. Next stop, printing much more money! After that, it’ll be some fascist dictator’s problem, not ours.

      1. Well, they’ve pushed deficit spending about as far as it can go.

        Au contraire.

        1. The monkey in the wrench.

        2. I love it when you speak French.

  7. So the food stamp cuts aren’t exactly cuts; instead, Congress is scaling back temporary bonus funding that turned out to have had more money set aside than was actually necessary to achieve its intended goals.

    The only fair thing to do is to (permanently) either enlarge the pool of people eligible for food stamps, or increase the monthly allotment to current recipients.

    Every dollar in the economy should pass first through the hands of Congress.

    1. P Brooks, now we’re talking some sense here. I second this.

      The good thing is, we don’t need to pass any laws to make it happen – Commerce Clause and all, etc. etc.

      We are this much closer to Unicornia…YES WE CAN!!!

  8. Meanwhile, the Fed has announced the continuation of their price support program for two and ten year Treasuries.

    We’re saved!

  9. Meanwhile, the Fed has announced the continuation of their price support program for two and ten year Treasuries.

    So, they are just being blatantly open about price-fixing in Treasury auctions?

    Why anybody would buy a Treasury is beyond me. Aside from the crappy fundamentals (you seriously think that low single digit bonds are going to be worth anything in a few years?), you’ve just been told the game is rigged.

    1. How long before the dollar is dethroned as the world’s reserve currency?

  10. In the general scheme of things I’d much rather see a government jobs program like the Army or DEA eliminated or some other make work welfare/warfare big government boondoggle that costs billions and billions more than foodstamps ever will – certainly paying people to do not a whole lot is better than paying the army to accomplish not a whole lot at the cost of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives – wide spread PTSD in veterans, people ripped away from their families…

    – but I am a left coast anti-American libertarian elitist so what do I know…

    1. No , you’re just another dipshit leftist.
      Food stamps are part of agricultural state central planning.The Army is a Constitutional function of government.

      I bet you own a Che t-shirt commie.

      1. And SIV wins.

  11. Hopefully you are not stuck in California? Ever since Reagan, its really gone red.

  12. When Is a Funding Cut Not Really a Funding Cut?

    Ima go with “always.”

  13. HEY!! Who the hell are you calling a funding cu…. Oh. Never mind.

  14. I just want to make an advertisement in here,you can find whatever watch you want on my name

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