Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Perception Vs Reality: the Debt Deal

All this handwringing over the budget deal makes it sound like there are serious cuts to governement spending involved. Tsk, tsk. You should know better than that! While all the discussion in the media makes it sound like the cuts are going to put poor people in the street, starve kids, and kill grandma, the reality is that the proposed cuts are spread over the next ten years, and, more importantly, represent reductions in planned spending, not real cuts to overall spending.

That's right. When politicians say, for example, that they're going to cut a budget, say, defense, by 4% in 2015, one might assume that that means that in 2015, the defense budget will be 96% of what it is in 2011. Pish posh. What if the plan is to raise defense spending by 8% in 2015. Now they're going only going to raise it 4% instead! Government math, kids, learn it. Know it. Love it. They do this all the time. If Democrats want an 18% increase in education spending, and they ultimately strike a deal with Republicans for an 8% increase, that is touted in the media as a 10% cut in education spending.

I'm serious. They really do that.

Is your head spinning yet? Maybe a simple visual aid will help.

Updated: Crossposted at Say Anything

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