Cutting Through The Crap

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hiding The Ball


Comes more food for chewing, as we anxiously await the response from a certain reader about the reality of the Ryan/Romney budget claims. In an article which adds needed, if wonky, detail and clarity, one of those, you know, professor types spells it out, referring to the plan as "a sinkhole" and "a shell game":

What people have not been talking about enough is that the Ryan budget contains an $897 billion sinkhole: massive but unexplained cuts in such discretionary domestic programs as education, food and drug inspection, workplace safety, environmental protection and law enforcement.

The scope of the cuts – stunning in their breadth — is hidden. To find the numbers, turn to page 16 of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget – Fiscal Year 2013. ... you’ll see the nearly $897 billion figure...

According to the House Budget Committee, of which Ryan is the chairman:

The federal budget is divided into approximately 20 categories known as budget functions. These functions include all spending for a given topic, regardless of the federal agency that oversees the individual federal program. Both the president’s budget, submitted annually, and Congress’ budget resolution, passed annually, comprise these approximately 20 functions.

Within the 20 “budget functions” lurks — at number 19 — “Function 920.” In a masterpiece of bureaucratic obscurantism, the explanation provided by budget committee reads as follows:

FUNCTION 920: ALLOWANCES

Function 920 represents a category called “allowances” that captures the budgetary effects of cross-cutting proposals or contingencies that impact multiple functions rather than one specific area of the budget. It also represents a place-holder category for any budgetary impacts that the Congressional Budget Office has yet to assign to a specific budget function. C.B.O. typically reassigns the budgetary effects of any legislation enacted within Function 920 once a new baseline update is released.


The importance of the nearly $1 trillion in unexplained and unspecified cuts that Ryan and the Republican party are proposing, under the catch-all rubric of “Function 920: Allowances,” cannot be overestimated. These invisible cuts are crucial to the Republican claim that the Ryan budget proposal will drastically reduce the federal deficit (eliminating it entirely in the long run) and ultimately erase the national debt.
[...]

Under the Ryan budget, “Mandatory and Defense and Nondefense Discretionary Spending” – which includes Function 920 Allowances, but excludes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — would fall from 12.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2011 to 6.75 percent in 2023, 5.75 percent in 2030, 4.75 percent in 2040 and 3.75 percent in 2050, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. The C.B.O. cautiously notes how difficult it would be to cut such spending to 3.75 percent of G.D.P....


Romney, in fact, has committed himself to keeping the Pentagon budget (Function 050) at 4 percent of G.D.P. By 2050, that would leave zilch under the Ryan plan for such separately funded programs as Veterans Benefits (Function 700); the administration of justice, including the F.B.I. (Function 750); Education, Train and Social Services (Function 500), and pretty much anything else.



There's a lot more to the article, much detail, and rebuttals of Romney's rebuttals, all of which supports its final paragraph:
In an interview, Christopher Van Hollen Jr. of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told me that the Ryan budget “is a shell game designed to hide the damage to the country.” Van Hollen is frustrated that the damage to which he alludes has not become a campaign issue: “The magnitude of this budget gimmick takes your breath away.”

Clearly, R/R/RWS™ don't want to make the election about this reality, and are making every effort to create a false image both of what they have in mind, and of President Obama. For them to win, the election needs to be about god on coins, hate for capitalism, questionable birth, hate for America, god on coins, gutting welfare, those damned immigrants, and god on coins. And guns. Always about guns.

And teabaggers have to swallow it all, hook, line, and sinkhole.

No comments: