Just what would it mean if the massive spending cuts the new House majority is clamoring for were actually made? It would mean a scary and dangerous future.
The latest proposals by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), calls for cutting nondefense federal discretionary spending back to 2006 levels, or more than 40 percent for education, environmental protection, law enforcement, medical research, food safety and many other key services.
James Horney, director of Federal Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), breaks it down this way:
If imposed across the board, such a cut would mean 42 percent less for health care for veterans; 42 percent less for K-12 education; 42 percent less for protecting the environment; 42 percent less for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and border security; 42 percent less for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 42 percent less for food safety and inspection; and so on.
In essence, the RSC proposal would eviscerate the vital services and benefits that the federal government provides and that improve the living standards and quality of life for millions of Americans from New York to California, Maine to Texas.
Dana Milbank at The Washington Post points out that under the RSC plan:
special cuts would also be coming for labor (the bill would repeal rules requiring federal contractors to pay the prevailing wage—the Davis- Bacon Act); international relations (funds for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development would be slashed); the poor (housing and other anti-poverty programs that fund soup kitchens and the like would take big hits); and federal workers (a halving of the federal travel budget could mean half as many food safety, mine safety and immigration inspections).
That plan doesn’t go far enough for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R- Minn.) who is even more extreme than the RSC, which bills itself as the “caucus of House conservatives.” Bachmann, who is the unofficial House tea party leader and who will deliver that movement’s response to tonight’s State of the Union address by President Obama, offers an even more radical plan. It includes
- Repeal health care.
- Repeal Dodd-Frank (Wall Street reform).
- Repeal the new food safety law.
- Repeal Davis-Bacon.
- Arctic Refuge oil drilling.
- Reduce funding for the Department of Justice’s civil rights division.
- No more grants from the Department of Homeland Security to states/cities (she adds that they can finance security themselves).
- Abolish the Department of Education, cut Pell Grants.
- Eliminate the U.S. Institute of Peace.
- Eliminate the Legal Services Corp.
- Eliminate ALL federal job training programs.
- Cut science funding for primary and secondary education.
- Eliminate funding for Internet in schools.
- Eliminate the additional child refundable credit and the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
- Privatize the Transportation Security Agency, Federal Aviation Administration and Amtrak.
- Eliminate various development and other international programs.
We can’t forget new House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget “Road Map.” Ryan is delivering the “official” Republican response to Obama’s State of the Union address. The Ryan way, says Economic Policy Institute (EPI) policy analyst Andrew Fieldhouse, is really a road map to:
a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to wealthy Americans and corporations and a wholesale dismantling of the social programs that all Americans rely on, including Medicare and Social Security.
What’s missing in all this? JOBS. This mad frenzy of budget cutting doesn’t create a single job and, after all, wasn’t the past election about jobs, jobs and more jobs?