GOP’s Spending Reduction Act of 2011 — Penny Wise, Pound Foolish?

The Republican party has unveiled their “Spending Reduction Act of 2011,” a list of over 100 cuts they plan to make to government in the effort to save a combined total of $2.5 trillion in 10 years.

So what is on the chopping block?  Anything that would actually be missed?

Some key points include:

Taking back any stimulus money that has yet to be spent.  Got a bridge that was supposed to be replaced, a road that was going to be widened?  The Republicans say give us back that money, and give up any jobs that have been created to finish those projects.

Freeze all federal employees and only hire one new worker for every two jobs “cut through attrition.”  The Republicans are proposing less jobs, and stagnant wages, which would reduce the amount of money that would then be pumped back into the economy as federal employees are unable to increase their personal spending.

Eliminate Legal Services Corporation, because quality legal representation should only be obtained by the rich.

End public funding of the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment of the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, because there is nothing more wasteful than art or media that isn’t controlled by a few major corporations.

Stop subsidizing family planning, because if you can’t afford birth control you will definitely be able to afford a child.

And the elimination of numerous funds for transportation, energy conservation and combating climate change, because the Republican party has no interest in conserving anything but their own power.

Many of the proposals aren’t just a matter Republicans taking the opportunity to cut projects they don’t like — such as art funding, public broadcasting, public lawyers, and transit, but will actually end up costing money in the long run.

“Slashing the federal workforce by 15 percent would force agencies to contract out the work, costing taxpayers more money in the long run,” American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage said. “Freezing federal pay raises for another five years would demoralize the workforce and make it even harder to attract and retain talented workers.”

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, called the proposal a “step backward.”

“Many agencies already are struggling with insufficient resources and staffing shortages in the face of expanding workloads and expectations on the part of the American people,” she said. “Even if drastic reductions such as these are ultimately not enacted into law, proposals like these get in the way of vital agency recruitment and retention efforts.”

Or this:

Too many of these cuts are to cost effective programs that are helping with social stability and increasing the nations (and Americans’) economic prospects and overall security.

For example, there is this proposed cut:

Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization. $530 million annual savings.

Yes, let’s kill that horrid DOE system for giving money to states to help weatherize poor people’s homes to make them more energy efficient and reduce their energy costs (and, well, their pollution).  Simply put, study and after study of weatherization programs come to the conclusion (based on significant analysis of much data) that these are cost effective programs to help these low(er)-income households.  Of course, that $530 million pays for itself many times over in terms of reduced energy costs and reduced external benefits (such as reduced pollution loads reducing health problems). And, among other things, these programs lead to reduced demand on other government services and — potentially — even might foster lower crime rates due to  more  financially (and otherwise) secure households.  Sigh, weatherization ends up reducing demand for fossil-foolish industries’ products (whether heating oil or coal-fired electricity).  They are also one of the tools for using taxpayer resources for strengthening the economic position of the weakest in our society.  

And, of course, there’s the pitch that eliminating health care reform will save $80 billion.

Joanne Grossi, a regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, disputes the claim that health care reform is too costly.

“It was actually estimated that without health care reform, by the year 2040, a full one-third of our gross domestic product would be going to health care costs.”

Earlier this month, several lawmakers who favor repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including new House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, released a report entitled “ObamaCare: Budget-Busting, Job-Killing Health Care Law.”

Grossi points to the politically neutral Congressional Budget Office report that estimates the new health care reform law will save at least $230 billion over the next 10 years.

“Anyone who believes that repealing this will save the government money, they’re wrong. We really have true, nonpartisan estimates that health care reform is actually going to save us money.”

The GOP is claiming to be about saving money, but those “cuts” are going to cost way more in the end.

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88 comments

William C
William C11 months ago

Thanks for caring.

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W. C
W. C11 months ago

Not surprising, thank you.

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Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

What the repubs have wanted all along is to take jobs from the government (that's OUR government, of the people and by the people and for the people) and contract them out to private businesses. They've been doing this for years -- we're lucky we still have an American military, and not foreign mercenaries or companies like XE, as our army. That's been THE PLAN. We are fast losing any democracy we had.

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Ernie Miller
william Miller7 years ago

Pretty scary! I am all for budget cuts but they should be looked at closely. there are some programs that may be able to be cut or eliminated. but there are others that need to be kept and possibly expanded. I am sure the Government for the buisness by the buisness would want to stop weatherization so they can sell more gas and coal. and probably cut the environmental protection agency. as far as that any agency that regulated Buisness. I am sure Buisness will get what ever cuts they buy.

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Frank B.
Frank Bartlo7 years ago

I see many here doing their best to point out the benefits of sane policy within the context of the market.

While the aim is laudable, the approach is totally bassackwards.

Human and planetary values need not be justified within the puny context of the market...

The market needs to justify itself within the greater context of human and planetary values.

Until we get out priorities straight as a nation, there will be no way to set this mess right. Once we do, the mess will be set right as a matter of course. We have no lack of resources or human will and energy.

We need to re-frame the whole context of the discussion, and boldly and straightforwardly put human and planetary values first, and keep everything else in its place beneath those greater values.

The failure of putting the lesser above the greater is too obvious to ignore. We must reclaim the greater, no less.

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Frank B.
Frank Bartlo7 years ago

The American people have been like members of a cult that are too blinded by their faith in the cult's beliefs to realize that faith is badly misplaced..

That belief, of course, being that "The market knows best." Any sensible person is well aware the market knows nothing, and is like a wild beast that must be tamed with human wisdom and values.

Alas, it appears to me life will just have to get so bad in the compound that the realization will be inescapable.

But those few who have benefited from this have boiled us slowly, like frogs in water, so it's been difficult for most to see it's well past high time to jump out of the pot.

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Charlene R.
Charlene Rush7 years ago

Cutting government spending is a stupendous idea.
With 100 people in the Senate and 435 people in the House of Representatives, that gives each state 2 Senators and, on average, 87 people in the House, depending on the population of the state.

'Right off the bat, many of these positions can be eliminated along with lower salaries, much lower pensions (which are almost non-existent in the private sector), perks, private jets and cost-of-living increases, unless the general public benefits, also.

Please, don't give the old argument, that we won't be able to attract qualified people, if we don't compensate them adequately.
The opposite applies, YOU CAN'T GET RID OF THEM.

Admittedly, we can't give away the bank; but, we can't permit ourselves to become an unkind and uncaring nation. All civilized countries provide for their children, elderly, poor, neglected and the mentally/physically challenged.
When you don't, you become a nation, that will self-destruct.

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Bryan S.
Bryan S7 years ago

All this after fighting like mad to continue the deficit expanding tax cuts for the rich! Disgusting. They still offer their trickle down nonsense. And of course they won't propose to cut our hugely bloated military budget (of course neither do the Dems).

The Repub plan will cause the economy to spiral further downward. They don't understand the concept of investing in working people and bolstering demand, or don't care. Repubs aren't concerned with the debt, they are just the party of oligarchy.

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James B.
Jay B7 years ago

That the Republican Party is the party of small government and and frugal money policy is a MYTH which has been debunked time and again by the Rejpublicans own failed policies. For example, they don't mind deficit spending as long as it benefits Republican voters directly. Nor do they mind expanding government to the benefit of big Republican controlled corporations. So, the small government, frugal spending Republican myth exists because they have repeated it over and over and over until many people have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Fortunately, the myth is now exposed.

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Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak7 years ago

How can annnyy public servant be this cruel, short sighted and self serving. How do they sleep at night? Doesn't the thought of all those people they are hurting weigh on their hearts? Can't they see where they are pushing the US and the rest of the World? How can they not think of the futures of at least their own children and grandchildren? What will they say when their own ask them why they destroyed the future?

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