The GOP's Pledge Would Make Cuts that Hurt

Breaking down a Bloomberg article on the GOP's "Pledge" to cut spending but explode the deficit, TPM takes a look at exactly what would get cut:

1. Education

President Obama has requested over $70 billion for the Department of Education next year. A cut along the lines of what the Republicans propose would necessitate a $5 billion cut to the Pell Grant program, which assists low-income students with college tuition costs.

2. Health Care

This is where Republicans really want to do damage -- to Obama's health care reform law. But their discretionary spending cut alone would mean billions in fewer resources for the Department of Health and Human Services. Perhaps most troubling, the National Institutes of Health would take a $6 billion hit. The Centers for Disease Control would also take hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts. And the National Cancer Institute, where spending has risen by 10 percent in the past two years would see their funding cut.

3. Social Services

Congress would also have to cut money for Justice Assistance Grants -- a.k.a. state and local law enforcement. Without cuts, that's $2 billion. Republicans would take $400 million from local police forces alone.

4. Housing

Everyone knows America's infrastructure is crumbling. Part of the initial response by the Administration was an increase in funding for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. Returning to 2006 levels would mean over $13 billion in lost revenue for projects under the purview of that department.

5. Revenue Collection

It's probably wrong to think that the public wouldn't support cutting funds for tax collectors. But if the government is going lean, it will probably have to lay off people who collect tax dollars, and conduct audits. That sounds great to your average frustrated tax payer. But Republicans talking about closing budget shortfalls will be working against themselves. In fact, without their help, the Treasury could lose just about as much money as it saves in non-defense, non-veteran non-senior, discretionary spending.

Sending kids to college, curing cancer, stopping disease, keeping local communities safe, and quality infrastructure are all things I'd imagine are overwhelmingly popular - not to mention necessary for the well-being of the country. No wonder the "Pledge" has a net negative rating.

The fact is that you can't get anywhere close to balancing the budget on spending cuts alone, especially out of the domestic discretionary budget. Maybe we should instead listen to NDN Board Member and founder Garrett Gruener, who says we ought to let the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent expire.