All the News That's Fit to be Tied

I have an axe to grind, but unlike the New York Times, I freely admit it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Dirty Little Secret About Budgets

The dirty little secret about Congressional spending authority is that no current Congress can commit a future Congress to spending cuts. The current Congress can only cut spending in the budget currently under consideration. Because budgeting is done one year at a time typically future cuts are used as tools to justify increases in current spending. The 2012 Budget offered this week by President Obama is a perfect example of a budget that cuts spending in the out years of a 10-year plan and increases spending in the first year. Cuttung $1.1 Trillion over the next decade is meaningless in real spending terms because the only budget being considered is the current one. The problem is that the President does not have the authority to enforce those future cuts and that is why, as we noted in a previous column future cuts never happen. Proposed cuts, whether proposed by the President or the Congress must be done in the budget under consideration. Future cuts must be rejected and exposed for what they are: empty promises.