According to President Obama, the recent deal that kept the federal government open included “the largest annual spending cut in our history.” In nominal terms, he’s right (barely). According to page 21 of the federal Historical Tables of federal spending, between 1945 and 1946, federal spending dropped by $37.48 billion in one year from 92.712 billion to 55.223 billion. Sure enough, Obama has got Truman beat in numerical terms.
Of course, anyone who is indeed as smart as a 5th grader knows that nominal terms are next to useless when the topic is the Federal Budget. Some quick math shows us that in one year, Harry Truman and Congress cut spending by more than 40%. Clueless Obama and the spineless Republicans who went along with the charade cut spending by just $38.5 billion. And how much of a spending cut is that? The FY 2011 budget is $3,883.861 (nearly 3.9 trillion). The cuts made to this budget amount to just 1 percent of the total.
(update here): it appears that the “cuts” were nowhere near what was originally reported in the media. The Congressional Budget Office has found the “cuts” to be only $352 million and that fails to account for emergency spending.
By not putting serious cuts on the table, Republicans are losing the debate and letting Obama portray himself as a common-sense fiscal-conservative who can make “tough decisions.” Paul Ryan’s plan is a start, but it is not serious because it fails to curtail defense spending. Rand Paul, on the other hand, would shut down some government agencies and make government more efficient. Republicans need to get serious before Obama makes them chumps again (of course it would be great if the Democrats made serious spending cut proposals, but I’m not holding my breath on that one).