Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Great Budget Deal of April 2011

Assuming all goes as planned in the week of April 11-15, 2011, a government shutdown will have been averted as a result of the Great Budget Deal of April 2011.  All parties agreed to cut $38.5 billion from the remainder of the Continuing Resolution of the current fiscal year 2010-11.

President Obama’s statement specifies the cuts.  By far the single largest, almost half, is for the Department of Defense.  In the president’s words:  “we were able to identify $18 billion in cuts deemed unnecessary by the Pentagon.”  No specific Pentagon cuts were identified, nor have I been able to find specific cuts in the print or electronic media, including the Defense Department’s website.

If the $18 billion is deemed unnecessary by the Pentagon, why was the $18 billion in the budget in the first place?  What exactly does the $18 billion of cuts include?  Is the $18 billion simply an accounting reduction, e.g., procurement costs were $18 billion lower than originally projected?  If real, will the $18 billion be added back in a supplemental bill before the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2011?  These and other questions merit answers.  We’ll see.

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