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There are two aspects of the convoluted budget process in play here: budget authority and outlays. Budget authority is what Congress deals in. Think of it as putting money in the Treasury's checking account. Outlays are what the Treasury deals in. Think of those as the actual checks cut by the Treasury to pay a bureaucrat's salary, buy a new weapon system or implement ObamaCare.
The entire spending debate has always been about budget authority, never outlays. That was the $100 billion promise from the Pledge to America. Outlays are simply not the correct way (based on the current process by which government spends money) to measure cuts year to year. To change the goal posts in the middle of the game is disingenuous, intellectually dishonest, and self defeating.
When the FY11 CR puts $38.877 billion less in the Treasury's checking account than Congress did in FY10, that decrease in budget authority from one year to another is a spending cut.
Here's a good video from former CBO Director Doug Holtz-Eakin explaining it. I've met him a few times. He's a brilliant bean counter and a fiscal conservative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS9ju1ZFQN8
The money to Brazil is a loan from the US Import-Export Bank, not a direct payment of taxpayer dollars from a government agency.
Congress's ambiguity when authorizing Treasury to cut checks is actually one of the reasons we should rethink our position on earmarks. (Stay with me here!) No earmarks means unelected bureaucrats will decide where the money Congress authorizes goes. Why not have straight up or down votes all the money authorized to spend by elected representatives so that money goes where it's supposed to. Transparent votes on specific funding requests (not earmarks tucked away in massive spending bills) would cut the crap like bridges to nowhere or monuments to the Kennedy clan but still allow money to be spent in poor, local communities for things they really need like levies and water treatment plants.
The entire spending debate has always been about budget authority, never outlays. That was the $100 billion promise from the Pledge to America. Outlays are simply not the correct way (based on the current process by which government spends money) to measure cuts year to year.
So when the FY11 CR puts $38.877 billion less in the Treasury's checking account than Congress did in FY10, that decrease in budget authority from one year to another is a spending cut. (Not a big enough one, but that's an issue for another day and another thread.)
Here's a good video from former CBO Director Doug Holtz-Eakin explaining it. I've met him a few times. He's a brilliant bean counter and a fiscal conservative. (He actually crunched a lot of good numbers on ObamaCare for the Republican Health Care Solutions Group I'd be happy to share with you if you're interested) Here's him on the CR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS9ju1ZFQN8
Here's hoping it won't get me tarred and feathered on this site, but I'll admit I work in a Republican congressional office. So I can attest with some authority that FactCheck is correct on this one. I've been fighting ObamaCare from the very beginning and I know the details of what it does and does not do very well. So every time I see that same chain email get more airtime, it makes me lose faith that the movement (call it conservative, call it libertarian, call it tea party - it's limited, constitutional government no matter how you label it) is so sidetracked on fear and conspiracy theories that they lose site of what's really happening in Washington. I was ecstatic last November when it was clear we were getting much needed reinforcements on Capitol Hill. But that unfortunately faded pretty fast when it became clear the wave that sent the new faces here is more concerned with rallying than with governing.
Take the FY11 CR deal. Does it cut enough? Absolutely not. But now because of shoddy journalism, there are Americans who would all but swear to the grave the deal only cuts some $300 million rather than the agreed to $38.877 billion. It's this kind of failure to either communicate (I hope) or to comprehend (I fear) that is going to hand the House right back to Democrats next cycle.
The health reform law is bad. It will bankrupt states, decrease the quality of care, and increase costs for individuals, businesses and the already broke federal government. With all the bad in this law, it drives me insane when people spread lies about it. That only undermines the fact-based opposition serious opponents have been standing on.
The conservative movement really got going under the leadership of William F Buckley Jr. It was an intellectual movement rather than the fear driven angry mob mentality we have now. Blog posts like these make me think the cause is already lost.