Mark Levin has already called the budget deal an "historic scam." Now, respected website Business Insider and its number cruncher Joe Weisenthal have dubbed it a "gigantic fraud," while conservative cornerstone National Review calls it a "fake." And when you see the numbers, you might agree.
Weisenthal had a look at the analysis put out by National Journal (via the CBO) that says the total savings from the new deal (possible pun) are nowhere near the touted $38 billion. That number is only reached by numbers gimmicks. Rather, the number is closer to $352 million. NJ explains:
A comparison prepared by the CBO shows that the omnibus spending bill, advertised as containing some $38.5 billion in cuts, will only reduce federal outlays by $352 million below 2010 spending rates. The nonpartisan budget agency also projects that total outlays are actually some $3.3 billion more than in 2010, if emergency spending is included in the total.
The astonishing result, according to CBO, is the result of several factors: increases in spending, especially at the Defense Department; decisions to draw over half of the savings from recissions; and cuts to reserve funds and and money for mandatory-spending programs that might never have been spent.
Here's what Weisenthal has to say about that:
[Y]esterday's analysis showed that the savings were probably just half [of the $38 billion], since a lot of the savings came from not spending money that was never going to be spent.Turns out, the spending cuts are even more minimal than that.
So yeah, total joke. This certainly doesn't make it any easier for Tea Partiers to vote for the deal, or for Boehner to come up with another compromise when debt ceiling time comes.
"Total joke" in a piece that includes "gigantic fraud" in the title. That's not good. But wait, there's more.
The editors of National Review put out a scathing piece saying essentially the same thing (in many more words). They even used the word "fake" on their front page:
Here's what they had to say:
We initially supported the deal House Speaker John Boehner cut with the White House to cut $38.5 billion from the rest of the fiscal year 2011 budget. It was only a pittance in the context of all of Washington’s red ink, but it seemed an acceptable start, even if we assumed it would be imperfect in its details. What we didn’t assume was that the agreement would be shot through with gimmicks and one-time savings. What had looked in its broad outlines like a modest success now looks like a sodden disappointment.
After describing some of the gimmicks used to reach the large number, the editors go on to blast Speaker John Boehner:
There’s realism and then there’s cynicism. This deal — oversold and dependent on classic Washington budget trickery — comes too close to the latter. John Boehner has repeatedly said he’s going to reject “business as usual,” but that’s what he’s offered his caucus. It’s one thing for Tea Party Republicans to vote for a cut that falls short of what they’d get if the controlled all of Washington; it’s another thing for them, after making so much of bringing transparency and honesty to the Beltway, to vote for a deal sold partly on false pretenses.
Read all their thoughts here. Congress is set to vote on the deal today.