Budget Details Emerge: What’s Cut, What’s Not, What Got Shifted and What Got Shafted

We’re just days from the expected final approval of the 2011 budget, and more specific details are emerging about what exactly both parties are agreeing to pass.  The nearly $39 billion in cuts will be coming primarily from environmental sectors and high speed rail plans, but will affect nearly every other line item on the annual budget as well.

One area mostly unscathed is the military, with the Department of Defense getting a $5 billion increase.  Still, there is a long list of cuts that will affect military personnel, according to Navy News.  Many of the cuts will be from weapons programs or just reductions in surpluses or proposed spending that will not be fulfilled, especially regarding base construction and military housing.

But taking surpluses back or not providing the full amounts that were supposed to be given in original budget spending seems to be much of the accounting gimmicks behind a large chuck of the 2011 budget slashing.  The Wall Street Journal reports that federal high speed rail will be defunded of any new projects, bringing any unspent dollars back to the government. 

The environment became a particular target of this budget bill, with the Environmental Protection Agency looking at nearly $1.5 billion in cuts, which was half of what the Republicans originally proposed cutting.

Also chopped out of the budget?  Czars.  But according to Politico, that deal was mostly symbolic — three of the four czars were already out the door.

But symbolic cutting is a key to the 2011 budget.  As CBS notes, many of the cuts are coming directly from unspent funds. “For example, $1.7 billion left over from the 2010 census; $3.5 billion in unused children’s health insurance funds; $2.2 billion in subsidies for health insurance co-ops (that’s something the president’s new health care law is going to fund anyway); and $2.5 billion from highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation”

Not so symbolic?  Nearly $400 million in heating subsidies, funds that will have to be replaced somewhere unless the country now approves of letting the poor freeze to death.

The 2011 budget was supposed to be a budget to curb spending.  Instead, it curbs spending mostly on projects that conservatives oppose for ideological reasons, like high-speed rail, environment, and health care reform.  Otherwise, the “cuts” are mostly accounting switches and not fully funding projects, or cutting from the vulnerable, like with heating subsidies.  But don’t believe the GOP is against spending when it’s something they want.  After all, Speaker of the House John Boehner is getting funding for his pet program providing private school vouchers in D.C., and there will also be spending on studies on the “effect of health care reform.” 

The budget is expected to be voted on in the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday.


Photo from wikimedia commons


James L.

What are the "four czars"?

Khat Bliss
Past Member 7 years ago

Let's just wait for the other shoe to drop, ok?

Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

Peter S,
Do you really believe that we don't have a spending problem???

Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you".

You cannot currently send a star to Morgan because you have done so within the last week

Linda Haggard
Linda Haggard7 years ago

The Natzies wanted to exterminate the Jews and the Republicans want to exterminate the poor by cutting funds for food, health care, and education for better jobs.

Rudica R.
Rudica R7 years ago

and trust that those we have elected will make the right decision and no back room deals are done.

Rudica R.
Rudica R7 years ago

"WHO got shafted!?"
Poor, disabled, seniors, women, children and our environment!
And the scare tactics go on. This BS about Medicare is just that Seniors DO have a choice. They can go with straight Medicare and all the plans A-Z) or just do a Medicare complete.
Medicare care complete is just an HMO. They have a primary doctor who refers them to specialists when Needed. The government doesn't make a decision on what health services are needed, but a Plan group of doctors. Their medications are covered, lab, xray all covered in the complete plan. The patient pays a copay at the time of service, which is sometimes less than the 20% Medicare does not cover. There are no premiums for secondary or supplemental insurances. What seniors need to do is stop listening the the scare tactics and do their own homework. They can contact the AARP org. and ask for help.
A independent agent came to my home and explained all the options to me. The agent was not selling anything and wasn't trying to lead me in any one direction. Just informational. My husband chose a Medicare complete plan and has been very happy with it for almost 3 years. I will turn 65 soon and have also chosen the Medicare complete plan. After working the the health care billing field for many years I understand the plans and was able to chose the best I feel is for myself. The citizens really need to educate themselves not only in healthcare but in
everything. It is clear we can not just rely and

Linda T.
Linda T7 years ago

This budget is an attack on the poor and middle class who have been cut from the job market. Cutting food stamps to familes while not cutting the loop holes from our tax system that are taking money, intellectual properties, and jobs out of the country is unamerican. Taking money from the community health clinics while 50 million americans are uninsured is a government death panel. A home maker would never cut the food from their children's mouths while keeping the cable on and the goverment should not be cutting food from children's mouths while giving the top earners in this country tax breaks. The government should not cut medical care frome people while not going after tax dodgers. This is outrages. Even thinking about giving states the right to take over medicaid is another government death panel just ask the sick in Arizona. The states can't handle the job. They would rather pay their money to private companies (Corperations of American) jailing their citizens.

Sharon K7 years ago

What they are supposedly cuttihng tio balance the budget is ridiculous. Our Government needs to streamline some of the programs that it runs. I recieved an E-mal the other day that stunned me. It was about a woman in the ER pregment with her 8th child. When she was asked by the Docter why she had so many, she told him that her Mother said that she was the Breadwinner in the family,because babies mean money. At, first, I hought she was talking about Welfare, and I know people on welfare, and they do not get that much. In her case, she kept having babies, then her Mother called the Dept. of child services, and told them that her daughter was unfit to raise the kids. After investigationg it, the DCFS agreed, and were going to place the kids in Foster care, The womans mother quickly signed up to FOSTER her daughter kis, and will get $1500.00 per child per month. Pretty smart FRAUD? If this is true, which I intend to research, just think about what else our government wastes. Sound like the Foster care program needs to be looked at to see how many other Grandmothers are part of this scam.

Morgan Getham
Morgan G7 years ago

And It is also scandalous that one of the biggest wasters IN our federal government, the Department of Defense, was spared from their fair share of cuts too. They should have been chopped as well. Truth is, only two things should have been taken OFF the cutting board.

The late Senator Ev Dirksen identified them in the 1960's. They are, the interest on out federal debt (because a default on it would kill our ability to borrow money at all, and almost certainly immediately crash our entire economy), and the salaries of sitting federal judges (their remuneration, according to the U.S. Constitution, may NOT BE REDUCED during their tenure.)

EVERYTHING else is fair game.