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Cutting spending is hard, cont'd

As further proof that cutting spending is hard to do, take note of the repeated cuts Democrats are proposing to the food stamp program. There's a semi-convincing explanation that low inflation means the program is overfunded and these cuts make a twisted type of sense, but folks mostly know that they shouldn't be cutting the safety net right now. It's just that they have so few options for cuts, and so having found one that seems capable of attracting 60 votes, now they can't stop themselves from going back to it.

By Ezra Klein  | September 24, 2010; 1:23 PM ET
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"but folks mostly know that they shouldn't be cutting the safety net right now. "

Ok, when is?

Posted by: krazen1211 | September 24, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

They are following the path of least resistance.

Posted by: tuber | September 24, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The Dems will screw us over to protect the billionaires:

And they'll wonder why the Rs are going to take over.

Posted by: AZProgressive | September 24, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Cutting spending would be a whole lot easier if there were limits on deficit spending. And even at that it's difficult. The budget shenanigans in California, Illinois, etc. should prove to anybody that most politicians, Chris Christie excepted, are literally incapable of responsible fiscal behavior.

Posted by: bgmma50 | September 24, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who claims spending is hard to cut is a lying unscrupuluous individual.

Everyone should watch the movie 'Waiting for Superman', concerning public teachers unions and general education spending waste and largesse.

Here's some great graphs.

The government education industry complex should be shrunk to where it was in 1995.

Posted by: krazen1211 | September 24, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I just don't think the SNAP program is overfunded.

There is the inflation argument, and there is also a discussion about how the average American household spends less of their income on food (my notes say in 1955, 1/3 of our income was spent on food and now it's only 1/7...I'm not entirely sure about those #s and I can't find my source right now, but you get the idea). The problem with this argument is households now spend a lot more of their income on rent and childcare. The childcare expenses were largely unheard of in 1955 because very few mothers worked outside the home. And we all know that housing costs are high (especially in the DC area).

The formula they use to determine all the numbers in the program needs some overhaul.

I understand that spending cuts are necessary, and no one person is going to agree with any other person about what should be cut and how much (I reference your other post). As well, I don't advocate across the board cuts. But sheesh, can't we get rid of pennies or something ( instead of cutting the lifeline of families, kids and seniors?

Posted by: stella12 | September 24, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"The Dems will screw us over to protect the billionaires:"

Are we all collecting food stamps?

Posted by: davidring | September 24, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, thanks for putting some realistic perspective on the easy political slogan, spending cuts. How about doing a follow up piece of the large amounts of truly questionable expenses, like farm subsidies. Since farm belt politicians aren't about to bring this one up or face that "ferocious opposition" you describe, you do it. Speak to the amount of subsidies, by state, the stalwarts protecting it (both Republicans and Democrats). You're not facing re-election and the most you could face is some unflattering comments on your blog and maybe a couple of letters to the editors. So what, your piece would help to accentuate your point of the article but also serve to "connect the dots" for many who succumb easily to their waste rhetoric.
Thanks for your contributions.

Posted by: iopsc | September 25, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

So, raising the tax rates of the richest people back to the rates of the Clinton years is something the largest Democratic majority in the Congress won't do. They will, however, cut food stamps in the midst of a huge recession.

Remind me again why liberals are supposed to support this Junior Republicanism.

Posted by: stonedone | September 27, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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