UnNews:Numbers are in on US budget "cuts"

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Numbers are in on US budget "cuts"

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16 April 2011

Empty glass

The glass is neither half-full nor half-empty.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The numbers are finally in on the $39 billion of budget "cuts" negotiated between President Obama and the House of Reprehensibles, and jaws are dropping all around the capital.

The lion's share of the cuts results from completely zeroing out the budget for the 2010 Census--this being 2011, after all. And funds spent on the 2010 Oil Spill, the 2010 Icelandic Volcano, and the 2010 Winter Olympics are also totally out of the 2011 budget.

Additional cuts come from the fact that "Cash for Clunkers" and its follow-on program in the public schools, "Cash for Flunkers," were not completely subscribed. The reason why Americans left "money on the table" is that they are not all lawyers yet. Many great minds here are working to solve this problem, first by turning all doctors into lawyers over the next two years.

Homeland Security takes a large hit. The deal eliminates customs money to inspect incoming shipments from Colombia and from two other nations for which no one has bothered to ratify the free-trade treaties. And the coast-to-coast fence on the Mexican border will be completed not with electrified metal but with recycled and unread budget documents, something Mr. Obama calls "a shift to green technology that will create jobs."

The military was not spared. Congress finally eliminated funds for an alternative engine for the 4-F fighter aircraft, something that neither Mr. Obama nor former President Bush had wanted, although little plastic screws are being manufactured in every voting district. Savings from this "cut," however, are reduced as Congress created a new program to retrain the workers in producing slightly larger plastic screws. And the House will vote to fund that Libya thing, after midnight some night next week by voice vote.

Speaker of the House John Boehner resisted claims that, setting aside the illusory cuts, the real total is not $39 billion but only $29 billion--or, according to a report in the New York Times, $0.3 billion, or 1/300 of the amount that Tea Party voters were promised. He also resisted the suggestion that even the full amount is less than the new borrowing done during the negotiations, and a claim by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that the government will spend more money after the deal than before. Mr. Boehner said that, despite such quibbles, the deal is historic and puts both parties in a good position to do it again in the budget for 2012.

Asked about his promise--actually, it had been Mr. Obama's promise--that huge bills would be available on the Internet for 72 hours before the vote, Mr. Boehner said, "Yes. Three days"--the middle of which did have 24 hours.

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