Ryan’s Spending Cuts and the Sequester

August 13th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Don’t worry, OTE’ers, it’s not all Ryan all the time around here, though that is, as you’d expect, where DC is today.

But this sentence, from an important CBPP publication from last week, caught my eye:

…the cuts to non-defense discretionary funding under the Ryan budget would be three times deeper in 2014 than the cuts from sequestration.

I find a lot of these spending cut discussions pretty abstract.  You can–and should–point out facts like the following, for example: Rep. Ryan’s Medicaid cuts would cause at least 14 million to lose coverage, and that’s not even counting the millions who’d lose Medicaid coverage due to repeal of the ACA.

But I fear even that level of granularity can come across as pretty abstract to people.  Most people are not steeped in this stuff such that they have a context against which to judge such proposals.  Few know, for example, that most Medicaid spending provides coverage for disabled persons and helps the elderly pay for nursing home care.

But isn’t the sequestration point even more abstract?

Sure.  But my point is this: look at all the arguing around the sequestration—the automatic cuts scheduled to take effect next year.  Though their focus is exclusively the defense cuts, R’s in particular are fighting these cuts, including members who voted for them!  All the sudden, government spending is critically important for jobs!

Well, that holds for non-defense spending too, and it holds times a factor of three (see figure) for the cuts in the Ryan budget.

So when you hear that we can cut taxes trillions beyond the Bush cuts, increase defense spending, and make up for it all by cutting spending and closing loopholes, think about the dust up we’re into right now over scheduled cuts majorities in both parties actually voted for.

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One comment in reply to "Ryan’s Spending Cuts and the Sequester"

  1. RayW says:

    Good afternoon. On MSNBC this afternoon (11/13/12) the subject of “unsustainable public debt” and “debt-to-GDP ratio” came up during your interview. It isn’t clear to me (or many others) that the focus on congressionally established budget balances or debt/GDP ratios out of context with import/export balances and private sector savings/debt/investment behavior is at all useful.

    I think that you have a responsibility to not let that point slide during your interviews. Balancing the congressionally established budget (read … irrelevant to macroeconomic mechanics) isn’t a factual given.

    It is pleasing that you regularly expose the baselessness of the neo-liberal economic debate, but the popular public debate is dangerously lacking.

    When ever an interviewer or politician says we risk failure like Greece, you are being irresponsible to not state that it isn’t any anyway true.

    Thanks for your work.