Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not a dime's worth of difference

by digby

The Economic Policy Institute analyzed all the current budget plans and issued a report comparing them side by side. It isn't exactly reassuring:

The current budget debate has generated various plans to bring revenues and spending into alignment, including proposals by the president, congressional caucuses, individual legislators, and outside groups. The majority of these plans focus disproportionately on the non-security discretionary (“domestic discretionary,” or NSD) budget, that portion of the overall budget that not only delivers the primary source of investment in our nation’s future, but also provides vital services to people in need, protects Americans from corporate abuses and environmental degradation, and keeps the government itself operating...

This analysis examines President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal, the president’s April framework, the Bowles-Simpson debt commission’s plan, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget resolution. The major findings of this analysis are summarized below:

• Each of the proposals cuts the NSD budget [as a share of GDP] to its lowest level in over half a century.

• Under the proposals, the NSD budget in 2021 would range from 1.5% of GDP (Ryan) to 2.2% of GDP (President Obama’s 2012 budget request)— below the previous low of 2.6% in 1962; far below the historical average of 3.3%; and well below its averages during both the Reagan (3.4%) and Clinton (3.0%) presidencies.

• Over half of the NSD budget is composed of public investment (for example, education, infrastructure, and R&D), so these proposed cuts make it practically impossible to maintain our investment levels—let alone begin to close our substantial public investment shortfall—without cutting at the rest of the NSD budget by at least 70 percent.

This is how we are going to Win The Future?

If one were to "negotiate" using these proposals as a starting point, the leftward position is NSD spending lower than it's been since 1962.

The last fifty years of the non-security discretionary budget can be characterized by four time periods. From the early 1960s to the late 1970s, the NSD budget rose from less than 2.6% of GDP to about 4.5% of GDP, mostly due to increased investments in ground transportation (nearly all of which went to highway investment), training and employment, pollution control and abatement, and housing assistance (see Figure A).

From 1980 to 1989, the NSD budget was cut by over one-third, from 4.5% to 2.9% of GDP, with the most severe cuts made to training and employment, community development, ground transportation, pollution control and abatement, and energy supply.

Between 1989 and 2008 the NSD budget remained relatively constant, never rising above its 1995 high of 3.2% of GDP or falling below its 1999 low of 2.7% of GDP. It averaged 3.0% of GDP during this 20-year period and ended exactly where it started, at 2.9% of GDP. But the composition of the NSD budget changed, with education (mostly K-12), health care services, health research and training, and ground transportation
investments rising as a share of the budget and defense-related atomic energy environmental activities (technically part of the NSD budget despite being associated with security activities), space activities, and training and employment spending falling.

Ok, let's set aside the lunacy of any of these people proposing to do this while unemployment is still high and the economy is faltering. But even if the economy was recovering smartly, why in the world is a Democrat proposing to go below 3%? Are they just giving up the idea of liberal government altogether? Apparently so, although it's unclear if they know it:

This would be the lowest level in over half a century and about one-third below its previous low of 2.6% in 1962. Keep in mind that 1962 was before the entire Great Society and before modern environmental regulation; back then the federal government’s role in funding education, law enforcement, and keeping families off the
street was minimal. In short, an NSD budget level that falls short of its 1962 level would cripple basic government functions and fail the needs of a growing population.

Yet the budget plans by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the Bowles-Simpson debt commission, and President Obama as outlined in his April speech all propose to slash NSD to an even lower level than that reached in 1962. As shown in Figure A, the Bowles-Simpson plan and the president’s April plan both propose to cut the NSD budget down to 2.0% of GDP in 2021, while Chairman Ryan proposes to cut it down to 1.5% of GDP. Not even President Obama’s 2012 budget request proposes allowing the NSD budget
to keep up with inflation (the CBO baseline), with funding in 2021 at 2.2% of GDP—still lower than it has been in over half a century. And all of these plans propose NSD levels far below the averages during both the Reagan (3.4%) and Clinton (3.0%) presidencies

The cuts proposed under these plans will be even more difficult and painful than the topline numbers suggest. Public investments—such as education, infrastructure, and R&D—are vital to the nation’s long-term economic growth and global competitiveness. Yet public investments are extremely low, currently near their lowest level in 60 years (Pollack 2011), leading to a lagging and inadequate education system, crumbling infrastructure, and absence of innovation. Accordingly, support for safeguarding public investment has grown, as evident in the Bowles-Simpson commission plan, which proposed protecting public investment spending, and the president’s 2012 budget, which proposed expanding public investment.

Yet an analysis of account-level data provided by the Office of Management and Budget reveals this to be a near impossibility because public investments represent over half of the non-security discretionary budget. Furthermore, the NSD portion of public investment represents nearly 90% of total federal non-defense public investment. In other words, it would be practically impossible to cut the non-security discretionary budget to the levels proposed in the various plans without either significantly cutting public investments or nearly eliminating everything else.

I'll leave it to you to decide whether these people know what they're doing or not. But any way you slice it, this cutting fetish is hugely destructive regardless of their alleged good intentions. The numbers don't lie.

It's hard to see where this ends but it's obvious that it's going to be extremely hard to crawl back out of the hole that's already been dug. Proposing to cut already inadequately financed programs has already made it impossible to grow them, even if the draconian cuts of Ryan or the other plans are stillborn. Why?