Is a 44 percent cut just the start needed?

Posted on 13th July 2011 by Trevor Reynolds in Uncategorized

The BPC study found that the United States is likely to hit the debt limit sometime between August 2 and August 9. “It’s a 44 percent overnight cut in federal spending” if Congress hits the debt limit, [BPC’s Jay] Powell said. The BPC study projects there will be $172 billion in federal revenues in August and $307 billion in authorized expenditures. That means there’s enough money to pay for, say, interest on the debt ($29 billion), Social Security ($49.2 billion), Medicare and Medicaid ($50 billion), active duty troop pay ($2.9 billion), veterans affairs programs ($2.9 billion).

That leaves you with about $39 billion to fund (or not fund) the following:

Defense vendors ($31.7 billion)

IRS refunds ($3.9 billion)

Food stamps and welfare ($9.3 billion)

Unemployment insurance benefits ($12.8 billion)

Department of Education ($20.2 billion)

Housing and Urban Development ($6.7 billion)

Other spending, such as Departments of Justice, Labor, Commerce, EPA, HHS ($73.6 billion)

The decision to prioritize payments would fall on the Treasury department, and Powell points out it would be chaotic picking and choosing who gets paid (in full or partially) and who doesn’t…

No doubt picking and choosing who gets paid and who doesn’t would be chaotic. And, lots of programs would not get their funding and that would lead to plenty of screaming. Nonetheless, it should be clear from this exactly how much we are spending in excess of government revenues. And, that could and should lead to a sober assessment of what government can and cannot do.

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