When Is A Budget Cut Not A Cut?

As the negotiations between Congress and the White House continues, the talk of spending cuts remains at the forefront. But as always whenever government talks about spending cuts we always have to take the word 'cuts' with a big grain of salt.

In my experience budget/spending cuts are rarely what they appear to be. More often than not those supposed cuts are not actual decreases in spending. Instead they are a cuts to the proposed increases in spending. An example:

A proposed budget for some government agency for the upcoming fiscal year is $400 million. The budget for that same agency during the present fiscal year is $360 million. Congress decides to trim the proposed budget item by $20 million, reducing the proposed budget to $380 million. To Congress, that is a budget cut. However to the rest of the world the budget will still be increased by $20 million. That by no means is a budget cut. But if the proposed budget was reduced to a level below that of the present fiscal year, say to $350 million, then that would be an actual cut in spending.

So keeping in mind these two examples, when both Congress and the White House talk about budget cuts, more often than not they will still increase spending. Only the amount of the increase has been cut, not the actual amount of money to be spent.

And so it goes in our increasingly out of touch government.