Republicans and President Obama have been hailing last week’s shutdown-averting government funding deal as the “largest spending cut in history,” but as details about the package emerged, analysts realized that deal’s supporters were greatly overselling the purported $38.5 billion in cuts. And today, the Congressional Budget Office finds that the deal would shave just $352 million from the deficit in the next six months — “less than 1 percent of the $38 billion in claimed savings,” the AP reports:
The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending. [...]
The CBO study confirms that the measure trims $38 billion in new spending authority, but many of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts like water-and-sewer grants that don’t have an immediate deficit impact.
While the CBO study lends credence to the theory that President Obama slyly deflected the worst of the cuts, the fact remains that the cuts will be harmful to the economy and to the people who depend on valuable social safety net programs that will have their budgets cut. Moreover, as the Wonk Room’s Ben Armbruster explains, the deal also leaves defense spending largely untouched. So while the deal cuts domestic social spending, much of these savings are wiped out by inflated defense spending.