Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conservative (Tea Party) Study Group's Proposed Budget Cuts

The Republican Study Committee, a conservative House GOP caucus, wants "to return non-defense spending to 2008 levels and non-security spending to 2006 levels. It would cut funding for veterans programs, scientific research at the Department of Energy, Homeland Security, transportation, housing, education, legal services, foreign aid and the arts, according to a summary released by the RSC."

If cutting back Homeland Security funding would mean the department could no longer violate citizen's civil rights, that would be a step in the right direction. Fat chance. We know those rascally Republicans don't give a damn about our privacy or even our safety. They just like to scare the hell out of us.

Not only are many of their proposed cuts popular across the political spectrum, they are what one might call insignificant or petty; certainly the conservatives can't be serious. Maybe they should grow up and quit wasting time and taxpayer dollars by engaging in child's play and symbolic acts such as this one.
Unfortunately for the RSC, the most high-profile of their proposed cuts would have little impact on the deficit. Eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting subsidy and the National Endowment for the Arts saves $445 million and $167.5 million, respectively. The national debt is pushing $14 trillion. Eliminating the "Mohair Subsidy" would save a million dollars.
Their proposal includes (emphasis mine):

Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy. $445 million annual savings. ➢ Save America's Treasures Program. $25 million annual savings.
➢ International Fund for Ireland. $17 million annual savings.
➢ Legal Services Corporation. $420 million annual savings.
National Endowment for the Arts. $167.5 million annual savings.
National Endowment for the Humanities. $167.5 million annual savings.
➢ Hope VI Program. $250 million annual savings.
Amtrak Subsidies. $1.565 billion annual savings.
➢ Eliminate duplicative education programs. H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
➢ U.S. Trade Development Agency. $55 million annual savings.
➢ Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy. $20 million annual savings.
Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding. $47 million annual savings.
➢ John C. Stennis Center Subsidy. $430,000 annual savings.
Community Development Fund. $4.5 billion annual savings.
➢ Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid. $24 million annual savings.
➢ Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half. $7.5 billion annual savings.
➢ Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20%. $600 million annual savings.
➢ Essential Air Service. $150 million annual savings.
Technology Innovation Program. $70 million annual savings.
➢ Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program. $125 million annual savings.
Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization. $530 million annual savings.
Beach Replenishment. $95 million annual savings.
➢ New Starts Transit. $2 billion annual savings.
➢ Exchange Programs for Alaska, Natives Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts. $9 million annual savings.
Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants. $2.5 billion annual savings.
Title X Family Planning. $318 million annual savings.
Appalachian Regional Commission. $76 million annual savings.
Economic Development Administration. $293 million annual savings.
➢ Programs under the National and Community Services Act. $1.15 billion annual savings.
Applied Research at Department of Energy. $1.27 billion annual savings.
➢ FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. $200 million annual savings.
Energy Star Program. $52 million annual savings.
➢ Economic Assistance to Egypt. $250 million annually.
U.S. Agency for International Development. $1.39 billion annual savings.
General Assistance to District of Columbia. $210 million annual savings.
➢ Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. $150 million annual savings.
Presidential Campaign Fund. $775 million savings over ten years.
No funding for federal office space acquisition. $864 million annual savings.
End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.
Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. More than $1 billion annually.***
➢ IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget. $1.8 billion savings over ten years.
➢ Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees. $1 billion total savings.
➢ Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees. $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
➢ Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of. $15 billion total savings.
➢ Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress.
Eliminate Mohair Subsidies. $1 million annual savings.
Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. $12.5 million annual savings.
➢ Eliminate Market Access Program. $200 million annual savings.
➢ USDA Sugar Program. $14 million annual savings.
Subsidy to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). $93 million annual savings.
➢ Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program. $56.2 million annual savings.
Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs. $900 million savings.
➢ Ready to Learn TV Program. $27 million savings.

These folks don't want to just "return non-defense spending to 2008 levels and non-security spending to 2006 levels;" they want to go all the way back to pre-Eisenhower levels. Maybe they need to focus on cutting defense spending and maybe then there would be no need to cut funding for veterans programs.

*** "The Davis–Baco­­n Act of 1931 is a United States federal law which establishe­­d the requiremen­­t for paying prevailing wages on public works projects. All federal government constructi­­on contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted constructi­­on over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects." Wikipedia
t/h: Lee Hostettler


  1. I think the combo of cutting defense spending, funding Homeland Security to work smarter, and strategic increases to foreign aid might help lots of things, but it won't help us with spending on vets programs for quite a while. We'll be spending on the needs of Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan vets for the rest of their lives; we've hammered those poor soldiers into the ground and wrecked so many of them for life.

    We cannot, must not skimp on their needs. If we do, and are known to do it, we can kiss the notion of an all-volunteer military farewell. The notion of serving a tour out of a sense of responsibility or patriotism has been killed by the same multiple war-zone tours, so it takes some desperation for a young person to "volunteer" today; for so many, that's the only job opening they can get these days that gives them "career" potential for just toughing out the abuse for long enough.

    Nevertheless, if we WOULD cut defense spending enough to prevent us from empire building exercises, it would mean we could spend less on vets in about fifty or sixty years. It might mean my grandson would be less likely to be pulled into combat. Those are worthy goals.

  2. What next, a Tea Party Guide to Brain Surgery?

    This is Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachmann-grade jackassery. It's also riddled with obvious political feel-goodness for these loons. For exampe, de-funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    In the AF, we would periodically be handed forms on which we were invited to express our hearts' desire when it came to where we would next be stationed. We dutifully chuckled and marked something down, knowing the likelihood of having our wishes fulfilled were up there with inheriting $1 million from an unknown distant relative.

    Even the personnel types handing out those forms referred to them as "dream sheets." The tea partiers' list of budget cuts qualifies as their dream sheet.

    They should have as much luck with it as I did getting assigned to Aviano Air Base, Italy.

  3. Wow Leslie ... what a list/ post! (as far as cut's proposal's) ... I never even looked at any of these list's elswhere's for that matter, so it was somewhat of a suprise for me this early in the morning to see this.

  4. A tad more if I may Leslie, that I didnt mention.

    We know there is financial difficulties by now, and there are cut's needed, this is why I was pointing out the financial mess to come almost 3 year's ago, because of what the market's were being able to do ... many seen this coming, but most didnt want to. Unfortunately for me and our country ... the men I voted for in 2000 (Bush/ Cheney) are the one's who almost took the world into a Depression with how they dealt with new changing global market's ... not intentionally, but as I wrote in them earliest posting's, the spending and especially financial deregulation was too much of a crap shoot (like putting a pound of crack in a room of a half dozen crack addict's and telling them to moderate their usage ... in other word's , it's a "fool's move"), the odd's were against us, because it is a move that work's in a more limited global trade enviroment, such as post industrial revolution method's, which can only lead to imbalance and instability, because of the transition, not that it cant get straightened out ... but that's what I was speaking of when I said ... "the storm to come" and the key being to make the ride smoothest for those who survive it ... because of the ripple effect it will have, not only on market's ... but that unstabilize's the masses, which result in revolt on various level's, and why I stated that this time unlike the Great Depression, will come in wave's across the globe in more countries than back then. We also had a world banking sytem still caught in 20th century way's of conducting business, in a new digital and globally connected society. We all know there need's to be cut's, but will disagree where. As far as the Tea Party is concerned ... I look at as "deadwood", as far as change is concerned and like a relic of the past ... sort of a bad seed, that is truely blind to how a 21st century will work and the USA's part in that world.

    Thank You Leslie ....

  5. Their cuts are ideological. The politicians, at least the non-Bachmann types -- know these won't impact the deficit appreciably. Read blog comments, though, and you'll get two impressions: (1) It's a start, or (2) They really will make a difference.

    The latter comes from people who really can't conceive the magnitude of a trillion+ dollars. The former, from people who blame Democratic party spending habits. They stick their virtual fingers in their ears when anyone points out that roots of the deficit are in the unfunded wars, unfunded Medicare Part D, interest payments, and TARP. They point to the literal calendar to show that the deficit skyrocketed in 2009, and refuse to believe that most of it is fiscal year 2008.

    Of course, they believe that the deficit can only be completely addressed with cuts in unnecessary spending more than they believe in Jesus Christ. Assert that the deficit is not a near-term concern and you might as well be writing in Mongolian.

  6. Once again, the republicans prove that they are all about rhetoric and nothing about substance. Many of these cuts are just hot-button issues, but have very little monetary value in terms of overall spending reduction.

    I also find it interesting that the largest single item (unless I missed something) is:

    Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half. $7.5 billion annual savings.

    We could start by making the Congressmen stay in DC and work instead of traveling home all the time.

    Want to save some real bucks, tackle defense spending. Start with getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

  7. Make all of those cuts (37B and change) and you've slashed into the deficit (14T) by a whopping 0.3%.

  8. And it only reduces the 2011 budget deficit ($1.5 T) by 2.5%

  9. As usual the GOP has its head planted firmly where the Sun don't shine. When are they going to get real?

  10. Nance: Like I've said so many times, the good ole boys - McCain and others - think nothing about funding and starting wars. But the poor vets, the ones actually making the sacrifices and risking their lives, get screwed up one side and down the other. Excellent comment.

    RC: Facts have never stood in the way of Republican mythology. I really think the Tea Party is in its death throws.

    K: I think it's called tunnel vision. A simple analogy to me is that as families grow in size, it takes more money to maintain them - education, health care, housing, and the whole nine yards. I don't think these folks understand that as our country has grown, so have the problems and the need for more funding.

    Jerry: Congressmen are meeting less and less while their salaries are increasing. As you imply, they need to be on the Hill.

    I think it's a given that they would go after NPT and NPR. Hell, I can remember being on an Appalachia news group years ago. NPT and NPR were communist backed entities.

    All through this list one sees evidence of their anti-education, anti-science, anti-research, anti-environment, and "anti-people" philosophy.

  11. This is to the comment's of "K" ... that sum's much up in a nutshell with fewer word's than I could do it with, I agree!

  12. Wow, cut Amtrak, public broadcasting AND the Exchange Programs for Alaska, Natives Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts. No, regional discrimination here or anything, I'm sure. I looked up the Exchange Program and see it's a group of museums and study centers focusing on native culture and trades, like whaling. It actually extends to tribes across the country. We could probably live without these places, but it would be a shame, just as it would be to lose the pittance we give to NPR and PBS. Most of their money comes from listeners and corporate sponsors, I'm told. These proposed cuts were clearly chosen to send a message, not save any real money. We'd all be the poorer if our reps came home only at recess and if we did without high-speed train service and educational progams. What lunacy! I've got an idea. Why don't we give up subsidizing our "drain" states, you know, the ones that get more federal funding than they put in the pot. Give level funding to Alaska, South Carolina, much of the South and the West (excluding California, Washington and Oregon). Yeah, now that would save us a bundle! Tea Party, wake up!

  13. Oh my aching head. It doth boggle the mind at just how stupid the right wing is. Or just how stupid they think we are.

  14. Leslie said,"All through this list one sees evidence of their anti-education, anti-science, anti-research, anti-environment, and "anti-people" philosophy."

    I saw this list last week and said the exact same thing to myself. This list proves what the GOP stands for and it sure as hell ain't middle America!

  15. This proposal is from the Tea Party element, not the GOP, who I hear are not welcoming it with open arms.

    However, I think the Republicans in Congress are going to rue the day they ever jumped into bed with the Tea Buggers. And they deserve to squirm and to see their party disintegrate as a result.

  16. I think it's time to start calling the tea party the GOP. They are the right arm of the republican party. They are republicans plain and simple.

  17. As Americans, we have been called upon throughout our history to make sacrifices. When this country entered World War II, Americans of every economic status played a part in taking on the crisis. Even corporations rose to the occasion, sacrificing what they wanted to do in order to step of to the plate and do their part to help save the nation in a time of crisis. This time is no different. This is a crisis, albeit an economic one. But so far, it is a crisis that we are not banding together to solve. Republicans are making the claim that we can cut government down to a bare minimum to get out of this. They are lying fools. We cannot have a stable country or government if we cut 2.5 trillion dollars worth of programs and departments. The government operating costs are 3.5 trillion dollars currently. By stripping 2.5 trillion of that, the government would only be left with 1 trillion dollars to run, which really only leaves defense spending as the only government program, as its doubtful Republicans would choose Social Security over their investments in defense contractors and private mercenary firms. That means no more Social Security, no more Medicare/Medicaid, no more education, no more transportation, no more public housing, no more unemployment benefits, no more food stamps, no more environmental protection, no more regulations that protect workers, no more consumer protection, no more food safety, etc… If Republicans have their way, the government would be left powerless to do anything at all except wage wars for corporate profit. This is totally unacceptable and a sure path to American self destruction. Republicans are wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporations. The terrorists no longer have to try to destroy America. They can sit back and watch the Republican Party do it for them.

  18. "If Republicans have their way, the government would be left powerless to do anything at all except wage wars for corporate profit."

    Oh, I think they'd shell out a few billions to keep the commercial prison industry going, along with police agencies and outfits like Xe (Blackwater).

  19. Tea Baggers are Republicans for sure but I don't think all Republicans are Tea Partiers.

    Regardless, they have their priorities mixed up as Vigilante and SW so adequately point out.

  20. The brain dead idea of cutting taxes to cut the size of government is one of the brainchild ideas of Grover Norquist, a hack lobbyist and right wing propagandist who also was instrumental in spreading the lie Reagan cut taxes on America (Reagan only cut taxes for the very rich in total, for the rest of us he raised SS/Medicare taxes MORE then he cut our income tax, not to mention raising the gas tax which hurt the poor and middle class much more then the rich) A good description of the America Norquist and the teabaggers want is this one;

    In Norquist's vision, America a couple of decades from now will be a place in which elderly people make up a disproportionate share of the poor, as they did before Social Security. It will also be a country in which even middle-class elderly Americans are, in many cases, unable to afford expensive medical procedures or prescription drugs and in which poor Americans generally go without even basic health care. And it may well be a place in which only those who can afford expensive private schools can give their children a decent education.

    From Paul Krugman

    Remember grover was the clown who wants to shrink the US Government small enough to "drown it in a bathtub", which was sort of what happened to the victims of Katrina, which the teabaggers seem to think was justified for some reason.

    He is also the architect of the GOPer pledge not to raise taxes, and got George the elder to pledge the stupid "read my lips pledge". He is one of the central players in not raising taxes but cutting government programs and has worked behind the scenes for decades, which would surprise me if he wasn't one of the go to guys for the Koch Brothers for ideas and spin to implement them to further destroy America.

  21. Anon: Ewww. This guy is really scary. I depend on my SS and a very small benefits check from Nashville Metro. They are my only income - my fault for not planning but nonetheless . . . I have Medicare and BCBS, the latter for less than $100/month (had to carry it from Metro). Good coverage but often can't afford the extras, even the relatively small co-pays. If what this man is proposing became a reality, I'd be on the streets along with millions of others. How is that going to benefit the country? Soup kitchens and tent cities all over the place.

  22. In fact there is evidence that cutting taxes actually INCREASES the size of government.

  23. Well there would be the "Egyptian option" if the super rich fronted by the teabaggers and Grover get their way.

    The super rich FEAR the action of the "small people in the streets, which is why the US Chamber of Commerce backs Mubarak, and why the controllers of the "tubes" cut service to help the bought and paid for dictator in Egypt.

    Remember we give Egypt 3 BILLION dollars a year for free, by health care of help for poor here isn't in the cards for the super rich or their US bought and paid for politicos.

  24. Know what's funny, and that the right wing won't admit? Cut all that, and it will kill jobs.