How To Look Like A Deficit Hawk By Slapping Around The Hungry & The Needy For Fun & Political Profit

MOTHER JONES: Here’s a chart showing the trajectory of non-defense discretionary spending over the past 50 years. This is basically the spending that’s left over after you take out Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Pentagon, and interest on the national debt. MORE

THE ECONOMIST: Here’s a fun fact: non-defense discretionary spending was equal to 3.6% of GDP in 1963. It was also equal to 3.6% of GDP in 2008. It is not behind the increase in government spending as a share of the economy over that time period. It has not made government any less affordable. It is not projected to rise substantially in the future. This is not to suggest that there is no waste in this portion of the government. Without question, there is. This portion of the budget should be subject to close scrutiny, to reform, and perhaps to some cuts (though whether net cuts are justified is far from clear). To pretend that one can balance the budget with cuts focused on this portion of the budget, or that major cuts to this portion of the budget are in any way desirable, is madness. And yet this is what Republicans are doing. Mr Krugman notes that cuts so far have affected programmes that support food budgets of poor Americans. MORE

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