Proposed GOP Budget Cut Figures Were Just Hypothetical


That $100 billion in cuts Republicans promised? What they really meant was more like $50 billion

Many people knowledgeable about the federal budget said House Republicans could not keep their campaign promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending in a single year. Now it appears that Republicans agree.

As they prepare to take power on Wednesday, Republican leaders are scaling back that number by as much as half, aides say, because the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, will be nearly half over before spending cuts could become law.

While House Republicans were never expected to succeed in enacting cuts of that scale, given opposition in the Senate from the Democratic majority and some Republicans, and from President Obama, a House vote would put potentially vulnerable Republican lawmakers on record supporting deep reductions of up to 30 percent in education, research, law enforcement, transportation and more.

Now aides say that the $100 billion figure was hypothetical, and that the objective is to get annual spending for programs other than those for the military, veterans and domestic security back to the levels of 2008, before Democrats approved stimulus spending to end the recession.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the political reality of the situation; $100 billion in cuts would have been a tall order. But the excuses given here seem designed to test one's sympathy. Are all figures attached to campaign promises now potentially hypothetical? Were Republicans not aware of the timing of the fiscal year when making the $100 billion promise? At least the feeling isn't universal: GOP Senator-elect Rand Paul has already responded to the article by saying that $50 billion in cuts isn't enough.

It's disappointing, but it's not surprising. Here's Reason.tv on why you shouldn't expect the new Congress to cut spending:

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  1. You want budget cuts?

    Try this:

    President Obama’s 2011 Federal Budget Proposal includes $56.3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), much of it to be devoted to increasing air travel security.

    * Whole Body Scanners: A proposed increase of $214.7 million would allow the purchase and installation of 500 additional “advanced imaging technology machines” (whole body scanners) at U.S. airports.

    * TSA Screeners and Staff: The DHS budget request includes an increase of $218.9 million for hiring more Transportation Security Officers (passenger screeners), and managers. “Passenger screening is critical to detecting and preventing individual carrying dangerous or deadly objects from boarding planes.”

    *picks up magical red pen*


  2. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

  3. It’s not exactly helping to dispel the perception of libertarians as detached, callous, and wealthy to display Mr Boner’s press conference on a $1000 TV in your video.

    1. I tried to tell them but they wouldn’t listen. I didn’t need my monocle to see that.

  4. There’s only $220 billion or so left until the debt ceiling is reached. So that will be somewhere in February I reckon.

  5. Republicans and democrats know they can bullshit the voting public and the voting public will try hard to rationalize the lies at the end of the day.

  6. Think of it this way. When was the last time the federal budget has ever been cut period? Not just slowdowns in future growth. If the Congress actually reduces the budget by $50 billion, i’d call that a success at this point. Small baby steps.

    What we really need to see is someone willing to cut defence and the entitlements.

    1. You seem to forget that a decreased increase is a cut.

      When a department asks for a 10% increase, and receives a 7% increase, they actually were subjected to a 3% cut.

      When government unions demand a 6% pay increase, and receive a 4% pay increase, their pay was cut by 2%.

      Remember that the next time your boss gives you a raise that is less than what you wanted, so you can complain about how that larger paycheck is so much smaller than the one you had before.

  7. My highly placed sources tell me that Jackie Calmes is generally full of sxxt.

  8. Incredible, they caved in on the first damn day before the fight even got started. Has Boehner started crying yet?

    Why I’m surprised, I don’t know. I expect tomorrow -50 will become zero, and the day after that zero will become +100. The establishment republicans are just as big a bunch of sorry-ass motherfuckers as the democrats.

    1. Every silver lining has a cloud.

    2. Boehner was crying before he picked up the gavel

  9. Every silver lining has a cloud.

  10. Every silver lining has a cloud.

  11. 100 billion? Difficult? that’s pathetic. they could trip over a 100 billion on the way to the budget meeting.

  12. Every silver lining has a cloud.

  13. Don’t have any ideas where to come up with cuts? Here, let me be of some assistance. The FCC, the EPA, the DEA, TSA, Dep of Agriculture, Dep of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of Education. All of these bloated behemoths could do with a major percentage cut to their operating budgets, without significant impact to other than the wailing big government classes. Oh, and while you’re at it, completely refuse any funding whatsoever for O’care. Period.

    Steadfastly refuse to pass anything that exceeds or sneaks in any funds for the bloated self licking ice cream cone that is our federal government. If that means a ‘shutdown’ because of TEAM BLUE whining and intransigence, well, that sounds like a pretty damned good money saving idea also.

    1. Why do most people laugh at “libertarians” and find it difficult to take them seriously? Comments like these. All ya’ll – would you just go galt already please? You can leave the complicated and important work of actually providing government services and infrastructure that make capitalism work to the grown-ups. Enjoy the gulch!

  14. Every silver lining has a cloud.

  15. That $100 billion in cuts Republicans promised? What they really meant was more like $50 billion.

    Where did I put that shocked face?

  16. ** hacker crack **

  17. I’m somewhat sympathetic to the political reality of the situation; $100 billion in cuts would have been a tall order.

    If the political reality is that knocking our annual deficit from roughly $1.6T all the way down to $1.5T (a reduction of 6.25% in the deficit itself) is a “tall order”, then we are beyond fucked.

    1. I have nothing to add to this. Maybe I should just move to China.

  18. Every silver lining has a cloud.

  19. Just kidding!



    Reason is good, reason is great.

    Testing, testing…


      Reason is shit, reason is fucking shitty.

      Testing, testing…

  21. -, It’s you the filter doesn’t like

    1. But It let me speak! It is awesome. The Best!

  22. This is such a big shock. I can barely believe it.

    I think I’ll heave myself off a bridge, just to escape the overwhelming confusion this turn of events has caused in me.

  23. Lollipops, you still going to be buying what the GOP (apparently ain’t) selling?

    Sympathetic to the political reality of the situation?!?!?! What does that mean? As you point out, the political realities were there for all to see when they uttered their lies – repeatedly.

    It was all for show. Just like everything else they’ll do for the next 2 years. Suckers, you – and the rest of us unfortunately – have been played (again).

  24. It’s going to take a complete implosion of this nation to bring about significant change. Nothing short of a 1930’s type of catastrophe is needed.

    1. Yeah, we can shrink the government, just like Roosevelt did then.

  25. Nothing short of a 1930’s type of catastrophe is needed.

    We just had one. Where have you been?

  26. familiar…

    Anonymous: You said that medical innovation will be wiped out if we have a type of national health care, because European drug companies get 80% of their revenue from Americans. Where did you get this statistic?

    Megan McArdle: It wasn’t a statistic–it was a hypothetical.

  27. 100 billion in cuts aren’t enough.

  28. They won’t even deliver $50 billion in cuts. They will blow up the deficit even more, just like they did the last time they were in power.

  29. Sorry Reason, you fail. For a better take, go here:


  30. No one could have predicted that the Republicans were just making chumps out the Tea Partiers. Hahahahaha.

    1. No one could Everyone should have predicted that the Republicans were just making chumps out of the Tea Partiers.

  31. Dammit – why are submit and preview buttons so close?

    Everyone should have predicted that the Republicans are the Tea Partiers. No surprise here.

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