IBD Notes that in D.C. Cutting Spending, Isn't what It Appears

With so many media reports focused on getting a deficit ceiling deal and competing plans to "slash spending," you might be surprised to learn that "spending cut plans don't cut spending."

The liberal news media have been tossing around phrases like "deeply painful" and "big, painful deficit reduction package." They have even tried to make President Obama look like a deficit cutter saying, "… President Obama continues to push for, a deal that would slash $4 trillion from the federal deficit …"

But current proposals to cut spending and raise the debt limit won't actually lower spending the way some might think. Investor's Business Daily pointed this out in a front page article on July 22.

"In Washington-speak, a spending cut means a government program that is projected to grow, say, 5% next year will rise just 3%," IBD's David Hogberg wrote.

IBD analyzed the House conservatives' "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan (which is supported by almost two-thirds of the public, but opposed by Obama) as well as the Senate's Gang of Six proposal (which Obama has made supportive comments about) and found that neither one cut spending in the sense of "spending less than the year before."

"Cut, Cap and Balance spends $5.8 trillion less over 10 years vs. the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] baseline. But it never reduces actual spending year-to-year," Hogberg noted. But that plan would still trim growth by much more than the Gang of Six plan.

"The Gang of Six senators have proposed cutting spending gains by just $2.7 trillion over 10 years. Details are scarce, but it means spending growth would be higher than Cut, Cap and Balance."

So just remember that the next time the liberal media complains about the severity of spending cuts.