Friday, May 08, 2009

Squealing About Cutting $17 Billion in Pork??

U. S. Congresspeople, while supporting (at least for public consumption) the $17 Billion in proposed budget cuts, have found reasons to stop specific actions. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) rejects the idea of reducing government to farmers with sales exceeding $500,000 because of its inclusion in a five-year plan several years ago. Jack Kingston of Georgia (R-GA) argues that because cotton did not get an increase in price supports that a provision eliminating payments for cotton stored by the USDA is unfair to cotton farmers. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) asserted that she would use back door procedures to protect health clinic funds for the "Last Frontier." Finally, Diane Feinstein (D-CA) criticized the cut of federal funding for imprisoned illegal aliens. On the other side, Jeff Flake (R-AZ) called for even greater budget cuts and "Blue Dog" Charlie Melancon praised the cuts as a useful first step toward a "pay as you go" budget.

Flake, and Melancon to a lesser degree, have this one right. $17 Billion is an absolute drop in the bucket (about 0.2% or 1/500th)of a $3.6 TRillion budget. Some cuts may be slightly painful, but inaction increases the already-sizable odds of bruising inflation in the next 18-24 months.


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