CBO: Counting Wars, Budget Deal Actually Adds to Spending

2011 Spending to Increase on Afghan War Costs

by Jason Ditz, April 14, 2011

The latest report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reveals that the much vaunted budget compromise, being sold as a massive cut, is actually nothing of the sort, and taking the ongoing wars into consideration will actually see 2011 spending increase somewhat over the previous plan.

The data shows “non-emergency appropriations” falling nearly $38 billion on paper, but that this would translate into only $352 million in actually spending cuts compared to the previous estimates.

Even this vanishes immediately when one considers that “non-emergency appropriations” doesn’t include the billions of dollars the administration will throw into contingency funds for the Afghan War. This included, the 2011 discretionary spending actually increases by $3.3 billion under the new “cuts.”

The reality will be a serious problem coming into the 2012 election season. The 2010 vote was clearly swayed by voters concerned with the deleterious effect runaway spending was having on the economy, and the revelation that the “major” bipartisan cut actually ended up making the bottom line worse is bound to add to cynicism.

All told the deal may create some minor savings over the long run, but even these are likely illusory with the Pentagon dependably coming up with new demands year in and year out. With the US now involved in three full scale wars, Pentagon officials are already slamming prospective cuts in their rate of growth.

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