Last night, the White House leaked President Obama’s proposed three year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending not including certain Homeland Security, Veterans’ Affairs, and International Affairs programs. That spending would be capped for the next three years at its current level of $447 billion, saving $250 billion over the next 10 years. That sounds like at lot of money, but it’s not much when compared to the roughly $6 trillion of non-defense discretionary spending in the current services baseline budget. Most of that $250 billion will occur in the last five years of the next decade. With the decline of American Recovery and Reconstruction Act stimulus spending over the next few years, both OMB (Table S-3 on p.28) and CBO (Table 1-5 on p.20) show declining non-defense discretionary outlays from FY11 through FY13 already. Every little bit helps, but this is barely a budgetary fig leaf.
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