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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fiscal cliff snag: Discretionary spending already down to 1962 levels

How the cuts from 2011 are undermining the deal in 2012

From the piece:

Policy Priorities. “Suppose that in the Budget Control Act, Congress and the president passed discretionary cuts of half the size of what they actually passed in 2011. And let’s say that in the most recent Obama offer, he reduced discretionary to the same level he actually reduced it in 2011, but because in our example the 2011 cut was smaller, the discretionary cuts Obama offered this week could be larger. You’d end up in exactly the same place but Boehner would be satisfied. The tyranny of a 1:1 match is you can’t cut what you’ve already cut.”

You catch all that? Because Republicans pocketed so many spending cuts in 2011, there’s simply fewer spending cuts available for a deal today. “You can’t take more out of discretionary without doing real damage to the basic functions of government,” says Greenstein. “It’s already down to the lowest level since 1962.”


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