Republicans Propose $2.5 Trillion Spending Cuts
The Republican Study Committee has come up with some significant budget cuts.
Dave Weigel reports that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)’s Republican Study Committee is introducing something called the Spending Reduction Act. Weigel summarizes the cuts thusly:
The proposal does what Republicans have been talking about for two years — “repeal” of remaining stimulus funds (now $45 billion), privatizing Fannie and Freddie ($30 billion), repealing Medicaid’ FMAP increase ($16.1 billion), and what they estimate at $330 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Highlights of these projected annual savings:
– Cutting the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and do this by allowing only one new federal worker for every two who quit.
– Killing the “fund for Obamacare administrative costs” for $900 million
– Ending Amtrak subsidies for $1.565 billion
– Ending intercity and high speed rail grants for $2.5 billion
– Repealing Davis-Bacon for $1 billion
– Cutting annual general assistance to the District of Columbia by $210 million, and cutting the subsidy for DC’s transit authority by $150 million.
Reforms that go after their own perks:
– Cutting the Federal Travel Budget in half, for $7.5 billion
– Cutting the Federal Vehicle Budget by 1/5, for $600 million
– Halve funding for congressional printing – $47 million annual savings
– Ending the death gratuity for members of Congress
And cuts that get revenge for Juan Williams: $445 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $167.5 million from the NEA, and $167.5 million from the NEH.
I haven’t studied these cuts, so don’t have any useful analysis of what privatizing Fannie and Freddie, repealing FMAP, or eliminating “Obamacare administrative costs” would mean. For all I know, these could be brilliant or suicidal.
Having grown up in the South, I always thought Amtrack was stupid. Living now in the DC area, where Amtrak is actually a great idea because of the population density and relative compactness of the Boston-New York-Washington corridor, I think it’s merely poorly implemented. (I’ve only taken Amtrak to NYC once and was less than impressed. With the trains, that is. NYC is nice.) Regardless, I’ve come to think of rail as infrastructure to be funded along with roads, rather than something that should be independently profitable. (Our roads don’t “pay for themselves” either.) But it may simply be too late to change America’s habits and accommodate high speed rail given the way we’ve built up.
As to DC subsidies, Congress has to decide whether to treat the District as a creature of the capitol or an independent metropolis with a tiny federal carveout. If the former, then it has to be heavily subsized. If the latter, it has to have the freedom to fund itself via taxes, just like any other city. As much as I despise the idea of a commuter tax — talk about taxation without representation! — it’s the only way DC will be able to meet its needs, since most of the affluent people who work there take their money home to Maryland and Virginia.
The cuts for printing and travel aren’t radical enough. The federal government should be leading the way in going paperless and encouraging telecommuting and teleconferencing.
I’ll refrain from joking about dead congressmen in the interests of taste, especially in light of the Tucson shootings.
I happen to like NPR. But I can’t figure out any reason the masses need to subsidize its affluent audience. So, sure, make this token cut.