The Job-Killing Republican Spending Cut Proposal

Conservative Republicans (isn’t that redundant?) in the House have introduced a bill that they say would reduce government spending by $2.3 trillion over ten years. David Weigel explains how they will do this:

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.

Steve Benen:

The likelihood of these cuts actually passing is non-existent, but it is a helpful snapshot of Republican priorities. But also note perhaps the most important detail about a plan such as this one: it would be devastating for American jobs. Indeed, if lawmakers were to get together to plot how Congress could deliberately increase unemployment, their plan would look an awful lot like this one. The RSC proposal would deliberately fire thousands of civilian workers, force states to make sweeping job cuts, and lay off thousands more who work in transportation and infrastructure.

Instead of working on creating jobs, we’re left with a new House majority that either (a) wants to ignore the problem; or (b) wants to deliberately make it worse. For all the Republican excitement about the midterm results, I suspect the GOP just wasn’t listening very closely to what Americans said they’re concerned about most.

6 thoughts on “The Job-Killing Republican Spending Cut Proposal

  1. Notice that not $1 of cuts were proposed for military spending.

    As for federal dollars subsidizing rail service, it’s one of my pet peeves that the USA spends WAY TOO LITTLE on rail, and WAY TOO MUCH on the Interstate Highway system. Up until the 1950s, the USA could boast having one of the best public transportation systems. Now, the USA is truly Third World in terms of public transport. Such is the lobbying power of the auto industry.

    Amtrak is a disaster because it has to share the tracks with the privately-owned freight rail companies (who in fact own the tracks – Amtrak has to lease the right to use them, and freight trains get priority). Much of the US rail system used to be double-tracked, but are now single-tracked because high property taxes were levied on the train companies. For the same reason, companies closed down train stations. As far as I know, there is not a single other country that does this – makes as much sense as taxing stop signs and traffic lights (if we did that, the stop signs and traffic lights would be removed). The USA has relatively good air transport because airports are government-owned, and airlines pay landing fees for use of the facilities. Infrastructure should never be taxed – if you want to tax companies, tax them on their profits, not on their investments.

    Most of Europe and several Asian countries (notably Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and even India) show us how good transportation could be if we invested in rail. But America will cling to it’s “way of life” until the bitter end. Well, at least all those freeway overpasses will make good rain/snow shelters for the tent cites that will eventually dot the US landscape.

  2. – Cutting the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and do this by allowing only one new federal worker for every two who quit.

    They need to start with the political appointees when cutting the Federal workforce. The politically appointed employees are the most useless of all the employees–remember heckuvajob Brownie. Most agencies have one stupidvisor for about 5 employees; so, getting rid of a few stupidvisors wouldn’t hurt either. But, the people who get out the Social Security checks and other monies are usually low grade employees who work hard for their living.

    They also pick on DC. Yet, they will not let DC have statehood because that would mean three more Democratic seats. Most of the Congress people live elsewhere but use DC services without contributing one iota to the potholes, garbage, etc., they create while driving to their $1M homes in Virginia or Maryland. Conservative Republicans do not work for the people; nor do they work to keep America the great country it is. They are farthest from Patriots as the list above shows.

  3. JFK in 1961: “Ask no what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
    St. Ronnie in 1981: ‘Ask not what you country can do for you, it can’t do squat – despite all of the nice things you see around you. But what is does do is keep the young bucks in T-bones, Cadillac’s and malt liquer, and we (wink, wink) can’t have that now, can we?’

    Of course no military cuts. We have to continue to pay more than the rest of the world combined for guns to protect a nation that’s putting a gun to its own head. The world would be laughing, but we’re by far the best armed maniac at the Safeway mall.

    Except for Clinton and Obama, each Republican Administration draws the bathwater, and dips the baby in deeper and deeper, preparing it for the final dip that will drown it. And something better stop them from taking the Senate and the Presidency next year – like US! – or that may very well be it for the US as we know it.
    This new Congress is not full of politicians working for the common good of the people in general and their constituents in particular, it is full of idealogues. We were so afraid of the USSR back in the day. And now, we’re coming closer to what it used to be, and how it ended. The Republican in Congress act as if they are the Supreme Soviet, all voting the same way – the way their masters tell them. We are in and endless occupation in Afghanistan, bleeding lives and money, and our economy is going down the toilet faster than an iron-infused turd.
    Little Boots was a bit presumptuous, but I think they will be able to say “Mission Accomplished!” in my lifetime. This once great country is almost dead. Unless we can figure something out, and quickly, we’ll be around when it flatlines.

  4. Candide – Appreciated your post on our rail system. Years ago the beach community I live in could be reached by Angelinos from all over the basin by a rail system called the Red Cars. De-training three blocks from the beach, the system was efficient, cheap, environmentally a plus, and afforded many people a pleasant day at the beach. Detroit wasn’t happy. Replace the Red Cars with miles of freeways, people need cars to use freeways, people buy cars from Detroit. So long, Red Cars.

    The disgraceful American rail system might seem like just one small ‘fish’ in a giant ocean filled with millions of other fishes, but its sorry state is indicative of what’s so wrong across our entire country. Vanderbilt’s infamous reply says it all. Asked to keep open his rail line between NY and New Haven for the benefit of the public, he said, “The public be damned.”

  5. Hi. love the blog, etc.

    But…I just wanted to admonish you for a little slip that none of us should be making anymore — ever. We all need to stop saying “conservative Republicans.” We must start separating “conservative,” with its many positive connotations, from the GOP. They are just too uniformly radical and authoritarian to deserve the appellation conservative in any context.

    Let’s start rebranding them for a change. We’ll do it accurately.

    • But…I just wanted to admonish you for a little slip that none of us should be making anymore — ever. We all need to stop saying “conservative Republicans.”

      You think that’s original? That’s why I started using the term “righties” instead of “conservatives,” several years ago. However, sometimes it’s easier to use the term people call themselves, and it this point any sensible meaning of the word “conservative” is so buried in muck that it hardly matters.

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