Gimmick It Up: Using Fake Money To Offset Real Cuts

| April 24 2013

Gimmick It Up
Using Fake Money To Offset Real Cuts

Remember that windfall of cash you got from graduating college and finally being able to do something with that extra tuition money?  Or when you hit the real jackpot by staying home that one weekend your friends went out to Vegas?  No? You need to check your Overlooked Contingency Fund.  That’s where all that real money goes – just waiting to be accessed and spent.  

 

Harry Reid Has Located The Overseas Contingency Fund:

Harry Reid Proposes Offsetting Real Cuts With Fake Money:“Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats will file a bill Tuesday that would replace the mandatory budget cuts for about five months using money from the Overseas Contingency Fund. ‘We should do something about sequestration,’ Reid told reporters in the Capitol. ‘It’s important that we do.’” (Ginger Gibson, “Harry Reid floats new sequestration relief plan,” POLITICO, 4/23/13)

 

What They’re Saying About The Overseas Contingency Fund:

Washington Post: Widely Viewed As A Budget Gimmick: “Counting money not spent on wars that the nation is already planning to end is widely viewed as a budget gimmick.” (Lori Montgomery, “Debt-limit compromise elusive as separate strategies take shape in House, Senate, Washington Post, 7/24/11)

Washington Post: “Phantom Savings.” “Moreover, the administration is also counting $848 billion in phantom savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the administration had long made clear those wars would end. In other words, by projecting war spending far in the future, the administration is able to claim credit for saving money it never intended to spend. (Imagine someone borrowing $50,000 a year for college—and then declaring that they have an extra $500,000 to spend over the next decade once they graduate.)” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: Obama’s faux deficit plan,” The Washington Post, 10/3/12)

AP: “Budgetary Sleight Of Hand”: “The wars were largely financed by borrowing, so there is no ready pile of cash to be diverted to anything else. … The idea of taking war savings to pay for other programs is budgetary sleight of hand, given that the wars were paid for with increased debt.” (Tom Raum, “Obama and the Phantom Peace Dividend,” AP, 9/6/12)

Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas: “This War Gimmick Is Quite Troubling.” “In February, when Obama released his fiscal year 2013 budget, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget criticized the president’s plan for relying on savings from winding down the two wars. Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan group, called it a ‘gimmick.’ ‘There are a number of good policies in this budget, but the use of this war gimmick is quite troubling,’ said MacGuineas. ‘Drawing down spending on wars that were already set to wind down and that were deficit financed in the first place should not be considered savings. When you finish college, you don’t suddenly have thousands of dollars a year to spend elsewhere — in fact, you have to find a way to pay back your loans.’” (“Fact Checking Obama and Biden, “ FactCheck.org, 9/7/12)

 

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