On The Chopping Block

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & DeficitLeave a Comment

Greg Sargent gets a memo:

I've just obtained an internal Senate committee memo detailing the latest cuts being eyed by the gang of Senators being led by Dem Ben Nelson and GOPer Susan Collins. Here is what’s being eyed in the bill right now:


Total Reductions: $80 billion


Head Start, Education for the Disadvantaged, School improvement, Child Nutrition, Firefighters, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Prisons, COPS Hiring, Violence Against Women, NASA, NSF, Western Area Power Administration, CDC, Food Stamps



Public Transit $3.4 billion, School Construction $60 billion



Defense operations and procurement, STAG Grants, Brownfields, Additional transportation funding


Nelson spokesperson Clay Westrope confirms the authenticity of the memo, adding that the figures obviously could change. But this is currently the general direction.

As you can see the amount being cut appears to have fallen, to a total of $80 billion, though Westrope says the actual number is closer to $100 billion. Also, it appears some of those cuts are being maintained even as defense funds appear to be getting added.

While one can agree with some of the eliminations and reductions, I can see most of them promoting job growth ("COPS Hiring"?  That's a pretty obvious one).  In any event, a Republican would be hard-pressed to explain why "defense operations and procurement" creates jobs, and money for the "Coast Guard" (or "education improvments" or "prisons" or whatever) wouldn't.

What's most offensive about the negotiated reductions is the total elimination of food stamps.  Food stamps are one provision which gives us the most bang for our buck, stimulus-wise.


Plus, it's the right thing to do — i.e., making sure low-income families, in a time of severe recession, can feed themselves.