'Budget cuts' may even amount to $3.3 billion increase

WASHINGTON – The budget deal struck last Friday to avert a government shutdown cuts the fiscal 2011 deficit by just $352 million, not the $38 billion touted by both parties, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

A CBO analysis found Wednesday that the measure negotiated by President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to fund the government through September would yield less than one-100th of the deficit savings touted.

The study confirms that the resolution cuts federal spending authority by $38 billion, but concludes that most of the money was unlikely to be spent anyway.

The CBO figure was achieved after clearing the smoke and mirrors, by adjusting for savings that are likely to occur in a future year, spending increases elsewhere in the budget, and the hike in the military budget.

When factoring in war funding, the analysis found that the legislation could even increase total federal outlays by $3.3 billion from 2010 levels.

The trimmed-down figure reflects the harsh realities of cutting spending at a time when dozens of lawmakers were recently ushered into Congress on a mandate to attack the federal budget.

The House is expected to vote on the measure Thursday.