Cutting Through The Crap

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Credit Due


Rand Paul has gotten very specific, and for that he deserves credit. No one else in his party has, not even Paul Ryan, the Rs anointed budget guru, whose numbers simply don't add up.

Mr Paul presents a plan to cut five hundred billion dollars from the federal budget right away. I'd say it glosses over (to say the least) the consequences; but I hand it to him for sticking out his neck. Here's a summary: (The prior link is directly to Paul's plan.)

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH...............................$1,283,000,000. (23%)
Notes: The Government Printing Office is abolished.

JUDICIAL BRANCH......................................$2,434,000,000. (32%)

AGRICULTURE............................................$42,542,000,000. (30%)
The Agriculture Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Resources Conservation Service, and Foreign Agricultural Service are abolished. The Forest Service gets a $1.2 billion haircut.

COMMERCE...................................................$5,322,000,000. (54%)
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is cut by $857,000,000.

DEFENSE.......................................................$47,500,000,000. (6.5%)

EDUCATION..................................................$78,000,000,000 (83%)
Only the Pell grant program survives.

ENERGY............................................................$44,200,000,000 (100%)
The Defense Department takes over all of Energy's remaining functions (nuclear waste, for example) and about $18 billion of its budget.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES..............$26,510,000,000. (26%)
Notes: FDA is cut by $230,000,000; Indian Health Service is cut by $650 million; CDC is cut by $1.17 billion; NIH by $5.8 billion.

HOMELAND SECURITY.................................$23,765,000,000. (43%)
Notes: Coast Guard is shifted to Defense. TSA's funds are cut by $900 million.

HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT....$53,100,000,000. (100%)
Notes: Completely eliminated. Veterans' housing programs are transferred to the VA

INTERIOR........................................................$10,934,000,000. (78%)
Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Indian Affairs are abolished.

JUSTICE.............................................................$9,057,000,000. (28%)
Note: Office of Justice Programs is abolished.

LABOR....................................................$2,803,000,000. (2%)
OSHA, MSHA, and the The Employment and Training Administration are spared all cuts (no cuts to unemployment benefits)

STATE...................................................................$20,321,000,000. (71%)
Note: Massive foreign aid cuts. All international commissions and organizations are defunded.

TRANSPORTATION............................................$42,810,000,000. (49%)
Notes: Amtrak is completely de-funded.

VETERANS’ AFFAIRS..........................................No cuts

CORPS OF ENGINEERS......................................$1,854,000,000. (27%)

EPA..............................................................$3,238,000,000. (29%)

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION.....$1,936,000,000. (85%)

INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS...$24,300,000,000 (100%)

NASA.........................................................................$4,500,000,000 (25%)

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION...............$4,723,000,000. (62%)

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.......$9,070,000,000.

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION.........No cuts

FCC...........................................................$2,150,000,000. (22%)

ABOLISH...............................................................$2,050,000,000. (100%)

(1) Affordable Housing Program.
(2) Commission on Fine Arts.
(3) Consumer Product Safety Commission.
(4) Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
(5) National Endowment for the Arts.
(6) National Endowment for the Humanities.
(7) State Justice Institute.

MISC

Collect delinquent taxes from Federal Employees........$3,000,000,000.
Freeze Federal Government employee pay...................$2,000,000,000.
Reduce Federal Government travel..............................$7,500,000,000.
Repeal Davis-Bacon..................................................... $6,000,000,000.
Prohibit union project labor agreements......................$2,000,000,000.
TARP repeal.................................................................$4,481,000,000.
Sell Federal Buildings..................................................$19,000,000,000.
Reduce Federal vehicle budget..........................................$600,000,000.

There's plenty of meat in it, and I'd guess it can't all be bad. However, when I think of cutting 32% from the judicial branch, when even our hyperconservative Chief Justice says the courts are in crisis for lack of judges and funding, I wonder if it might be too drastic in other areas as well. Homeland security? When the fundament upon which Republicanism has rested of late is fighting their war on terror? And, of course, an 83% cut in education, while entirely consistent with teabagger mindlessness (in more meanings than one), would be devastating except in the view of those whose goal is to produce ill-informed people for their ever-increasing and ever-deluded base.

Housing, environmental protection, science, mass transit, food safety, national parks, drug regulation, health research: not priorities. Foreign aid: gone. Defense, though: token cuts only.

Nonetheless, it's good to see specifics that follow from the quest to balance the budget only with spending cuts, and I commend Rand Paul for that.

Now it's up to teabaggers to digest it, to understand the consequences of their avowed policies, and to tell us if that's what they really meant. (Here's a selection of thoughtful comments from regular people -- assuming "regular" applies to people who read blogs.) And, while the teabaggers stare blankly at the wall, overloaded by the need to think things through and likely unequipped to do so, it's time for Democrats to make a case for the importance of these programs, and why they're vital to our future; to make clear what kind of country we'd be were the randy to get their way.

1 comment:

Frank Drackman said...

I LIKE Rand Paul.
and nothin to do with his politics, its his giving the middle finger to the Opthalmology Board, admit it, you wish YOU had the same guts.
I'd do the same to the ABA but I'm already paid up through 2018...

Cut NOAA!?!?!?!?!?!?
OMFG how am I gonna know how many inches of Global Warming I've got on my Driveway???
And whats with an "Indian Health Service"? All these Indian Cardiologists/Nephrologists and they get there own Government Healthcare?? Go back to Bangalore if ya don't like it!
and if I had a nickel for every time I've ridden Amtrak/watchedPBS/listened to NPR/took advantage of my VA benefits...
I'd have about ummm 20 cents, I did watch that one episode of "The Civil War" 4 times till I figured out the Good Guys weren't gonna win...


Frank