The $38 billion in budget cuts agreed to by President Barack Obama and Congress have been widely described as the largest in history. They’re not, The Washington Post reported.
On a variety of levels, the cuts pale in comparison to those made in the past. After the end of World War II, the budget was cut by 40 percent, “which means it is 40 times larger than the deal that is routinely described as historic,” the Post said in fact checking claims made in the media and by politicians.
“The budget kept falling for a number of years after World War II. It dropped to $34 billion in 1947, a cut of 38 percent. Then the next year it fell to just under $30 billion, a cut of 14 percent. (There were also cuts of 66 percent, 20 percent and 35 percent, respectively, in the three years after the end of World War I.),” the Post reported.
Examining the cuts in terms of a percentage of the national economy or translating them into constant dollars also shows larger cuts in U.S. history. The Cato Institute’s David Boaz and Chris Edwards have come up with 18 years in the past 110 years as having bigger cuts on a percentage basis.
Edwards tells the Post that even with the budget cuts, overall spending for fiscal 2011 will grow by about $100 billion from 2010. As a result, he explains, the $38 billion in cuts will barely register in future historical budget tables.
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