Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 25, 2011 21 Adar I, 5771

Harry Reid's illusory $41 billion in budget cuts

By Glenn Kessler




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "We've already proposed $41 billion in cuts. So for the Republicans to say we're not cutting anything, they're being disingenuous and unfair and really not very truthful."
--Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), Feb. 23, 2011

Congress is in a budget-cutting frenzy.

With a March 4 expiration of a stopgap government-funding bill looming, both sides are jockeying for position, eager to avoid blame for a government shutdown if no deal is reached.

The GOP-led House of Representatives last week passed a bill that would cut $61 billion in spending in this year's budget, and now Senate Democrats feel the pressure to show that they too are serious about reining in spending. (Few question anymore whether it makes sense to cut federal spending as the nation struggles to emerge from a recession, but that's another story.)

The way Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid frames it, there does not appear to be much difference between the two sides: $41 billion in cuts vs. $61 billion in cuts. But nothing is ever simple when politicians are spouting budget figures.


The Facts

There are really three different budgets in play now, and people in Congress mislead by mixing them up.

There is the fiscal year 2012 budget, which starts in October. President Obama this month submitted his blueprint for that. Let's put that aside for now.

Then there is the fiscal year 2011 budget, which started last October. Congress never passed the annual appropriations bills needed to fund that budget -- submitted by Obama last year -- so government spending has continued on at 2010 levels, with some adjustments. Republicans are demanding that some of those appropriations be rescinded now, even with just seven months left in the fiscal year, as part of an effort to get spending back to pre-stimulus, 2008 levels.

Finally, there is the fiscal year 2010 budget, which was passed into law and ended on Sept.30, 2010. But it remains important because current government spending has been set more or less according to the 2010 pace.

Also keep in mind that the proposed cuts are taking place in the discretionary-spending part of the budget -- just one-third of the overall budget pie. Congress each year sets spending for the discretionary programs, such as Cabinet agency funding. Mandatory-spending programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, continue at the same pace unless Congress changes the laws governing those programs.

So what is Reid talking about when he says Democrats have already proposed $41 billion in cuts? He's talking about the difference between what Obama proposed last year -- and was never enacted -- and 2010 spending. Or, to put it another way, he's talking about cutting spending that never happened.

Republicans can play the same game. House Republicans brag that the House bill passed last week cut spending by $100 billion. That also is from the levels proposed in the Obama budget. So an apples-to-apples comparison would be about $100 billion in cuts in the House vs. about $40 billion in the Senate, or $60 billion in the House vs. zero in the Senate. Either way, there's a gap of about $60 billion.

A Reid spokesman offers the GOP language as an excuse. "The $41 billion is off of President Obama's 2011 budget," Jon Summers said. "The GOP also factors this into their $100 billion, so clearly both sides consider this a cut."

(For complicated, technical reasons, the numbers do not precisely line up. The stopgap funding bill is a smidgen, about $2 billion, below 2010 levels. Overall, the president proposed spending $1.128 trillion on discretionary programs in 2011 and the House bill would spend just $1.027 trillion.)

Now, of course, just flat-lining spending year after year can be a cut of some magnitude. If a family spends $100 a week on food one year, and then inflation brings costs to $103 a week the next year, there is less money for other things if income remains the same. Similarly, inflation and population growth affect the cost of government programs. Over time, the best way to compare government spending over many years is calculating its share of gross domestic product, not just looking at raw numbers.

But Obama's 2011 budget was not trying to freeze spending at constant levels. According to the historical data listed in the 2012 budget, Obama proposed a real increase in spending from 2010 to 2011. In inflation-adjusted dollars, Obama proposed a boost of $43 billion in discretionary spending. As a percentage of the gross domestic product, discretionary spending would have climbed from 9.3 percent to 9.4 percent.


The Pinocchio Test

If Reid had stipulated he was talking about cuts from Obama's never-enacted budget, he might have been on more solid ground. But then he paired his statement with an attack on Republicans, claiming that for them "to say we're not cutting anything, they're being disingenuous and unfair and really not very truthful."

It is Reid who is being disingenuous and not very truthful. He is playing with figures to conjure up $41 billion in cuts that are largely illusory. The GOP may play the same games to bump up their figures, but two wrongs don't make a right -- and certainly the GOP can claim most of their cuts are real.

Two Pinocchios

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on Glenn Kessler's column by clicking here.In an award-winning journalism career spanning nearly three decades, Glenn Kessler has covered foreign policy, economic policy, the White House, Congress, politics, airline safety and Wall Street. He was The Washington Post's chief State Department reporter for nine years, traveling around the world with three different Secretaries of State. Before that, he covered tax and budget policy for The Washington Post and also served as the newspaper's national business editor. Kessler has long specialized in digging beyond the conventional wisdom, such as when he earned a "laurel" from the Columbia Journalism Review




© 2011, Washington Post