11/23/2010

Cutting Earmarks Only Symbolic

This article is an excellent compliment to my post from Nov. 17th, "Are ALL Earmarks Bad?".  As I said then, cutting earmarks is an easy out for politicians hoping to score brownie points with their constituents, but as a component of overall spending by the government, it is akin to throwing a pebble into the Grand Canyon. - Brian

Eliminating 100 Percent of Earmarks Cuts Federal Spending Less Then 0.5 Percent

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
By Chris Johnson   CNS News

(CNSNews.com) - Whether you use the Office of Management and Budget’s earmark numbers or Citizens Against Government Waste’s earmark numbers, eliminating 100 percent of earmarks in fiscal 2010 would have cut the federal budget by less than one-half of one percent.


Eliminating all earmarks in fiscal 2010 also would have hardly made a dent in the federal deficit, reducing it by only about a percentage point, according to the earmark calculations made by both OMB and CAGW.

In fiscal year 2010, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government spent $3.46 trillion while running a deficit of $1.29 trillion. Meanwhile, CAGW says earmarks accounted for $16.5 billion in federal spending, and OMB says they accounted for $11.1 billion.

The $16.5 billion in earmarks identified by CAGW equaled 0.48 percent of overall federal spending in fiscal 2010 and 1.28 percent of the deficit. The $11.1 billion in earmarks identified by OMB equaled 0.32 percent of overall federal spending and 0.86 percent of the deficit.

The numbers for fiscal 2009 were similar. That year, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government spent $3.52 trillion while running a deficit of $1.42 trillion. CAGW identified $19.6 trillion earmarks in fiscal 2009 spending, and OBM identified $15.95 billion.

The $19.6 billion in earmarks CAGW identified in fiscal 2009 equaled 0.56 percent of overall federal spending and 1.38 percent of the federal deficit. The $15.95 billion in earmarks OMB identified equaled 0.45 percent of overall federal spending and 1.13 percent of the federal deficit.

OMB and CAGW designate a different dollar amount for earmarks each year because they define “earmarks” somewhat differently.

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