Capitol Hill (CNN) – Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden beamed that Congress and the White House were circling around “$73 Billion” in budget cuts.
But that’s not $73 Billion in real-people dollars. That’s $73 Billion in imaginary, government-speak dollars.
How much is it actually? Keep reading.
The fuzzy budget cut math is not limited to Democrats. In fact, Republicans arguably kicked off this latest round of fun with statistics by presenting what they called “$100 billion” in spending cuts, but which were actually $61 Billion in decreases from the last government spending bill.
What’s Going On?
The vice president’s “$73 Billion” in cuts, and the Republicans’ initial “$100 Billion” number, are both reductions from President Obama’s proposed 2010 budget, which was never passed. That’s the key point. That proposed, larger budget, never became reality.
It’s a bit like a college kid who asked his parents to buy him a car and was turned down, but who then tried to count the lack of a car as a “spending cut” the next year. The money was never allocated for spending in the first place.
In reality, government has slogged along under 2009 spending amounts. So, to “cut spending” (actual spending), would mean to reduce from that current spending level.
Politicians could theoretically argue that they are still “cutting” when they compare numbers to Obama’s proposed, theoretical, never-became-reality budget. But they are only cutting their own fantasy budget, on paper. It is not the same as cutting actual dollars that agencies expect to spend.
So, How Much is Really Being Cut?
The “deal” announced by Biden would cut $33 Billion in actual, current spending. That’s how much of government agency’s expected budgets would be cut immediately if this plan wins out.
All Proposals and Cuts, Apples To Apples
Cuts So Far: $10 Billion in immediate cuts to current spending. That is the total passed in two separate short-term spending bills.
Republicans: The House passed $61 Billion in cuts to current spending in February.
Senate Democrats: Recently said they would support $30 Billion total in current spending cuts total. But they are now grouped with Biden’s deal.
Biden’s “deal”: VP Biden’s words mean a cut of approximately $33 Billion from current spending.
Want more on the spending, deficit and government shutdown math? Listen to this week’s American Sauce podcast here.
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