Monday, October 13, 2008

McCain Announces He Will Cut ... What, Exactly?

From today's new McCain stump speech:

I will freeze government spending on all but the most important programs like defense, veterans care, Social Security and health care until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren't working for the American people. And I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congresses passes.
Let's leave aside the fact that a spending freeze in the middle of a recession is, um, not usually thought to be a brilliant idea. Instead, let's focus on how much spending is left over after accounting for "programs like defense, veterans care, Social Security and health care". Here's what Table 3.2 — Outlays by Function and Subfunction: 1962–2013 of the 2009 Federal Budget says about estimated FY2009 spending on those categories, plus net interest, which can't be cut:
  • Defense: $675,084 billion (this is category 050; since the Bush Administration has refused to count Iraq war spending in the budget in past years, I'm assuming this number doesn't include the war, though I could be wrong on this point).
  • Veterans benefits and services: $91,875 (category 700)
  • Social Security: $626,442 (category 650)
  • "Health care" includes Health (category 550) and Medicare (category 570). Estimated 2009 spending amounts:

    • $299,393 for Health
    • $413,324 for Medicare

  • Net interest: $260,231 (category 900)
Adding up all those categories yields a total of nearly $2.4 trillion. Total federal outlays for 2009 are estimated to be a bit $3.1 trillion. McCain has already ruled out cutting 76% of the federal budget, leaving only about $700 billion left for McCain to cut. Below is a list of the spending functions that make up the remaining $700 billion. Keep in mind that when McCain says, as he does in his speech, that "I'm going to make government live on a budget just like you do," these are the only programs he says he's willing to even consider cutting. 
  • International affairs: $38 billion.
  • General science, space and technology: $29 billion
  • Energy: $3 billion
  • Natural resources and environment: $36 billion
  • Agriculture: $19 billion
  • Commerce and housing credit: $4 billion (this includes deposit insurance and so will rise some)
  • Transportation: $84 billion
  • Community and regional development: $23 billion
  • Education, training, employment, and social services: $88 billion
  • Income security: $402 billion (this includes about $119 billion for forms of retirement and disability outside the SS system; the rest is: unemployment compensation, $43 billion; housing assistance $41 billion; food and nutrition assistance, $62 billion; and other income security, $133 billion). Some of this will certainly rise automatically due to the recession.
  • Administration of Justice: $51 billion (this is federal law enforcement, federal prisons, and federal courts)
  • General government: $21 billion (this is the stuff that keeps the government making its payroll, etc)


Anonymous said...

When Republicans say they want to "cut runaway government spending," what they invariably mean is "all those social programs that help lazy, poor people."

Anonymous said...

could you publish a list of economists for obama so that i can counter my gop friends who keep talking about the economists for mccain list ?