The spending cut that wasn’t

Anyone familiar with decoding Washington-speak knows that while sequestration is routinely described as a spending cut (usually with adjectives such as “harsh,” “deep,” or the ever-popular “draconian” attached) it’s not really a “cut” at all.  It’s a reduction in the rate of spending growth.  The government will still spend more money after sequestration, which doesn’t even put much of a dent in the overall spending increases since 2008, let alone the size of government as a whole.

But even though the government continue to grow, certain individual agencies and programs will see  actual cuts.  The White House Office of Management and Budget long ago prepared a list of them.  For example, there’s the National Drug Intelligence Agency, which is losing $2 million out of a $20 million budget.

A 10 percent reduction might not really be “draconian,” but it’ll certainly be felt in the halls of the National Drug Intelligence Agency!  Or at least it would… if the agency had not ceased to exist, three months before the OMB report was prepared in September 2012, according to Mike Riggs at Reason.

So President Obama is galloping around the country and insisting that an overall 2.3 percent trim will prove fatal to a $3.6 trillion government that can’t even keep track of which agencies are still in business.  No surprises there.  This is the same Leviathan State that subsidizes pizza advertising at the same time it’s spending millions to hector Americans about the fat in their diets.  And those were two different initiatives of the same agency.

Follow-up question: does anyone know where the money budgeted for the moribund National Drug Intelligence Agency is actually going?  Depending on whether or not sequestration goes through, that’s either $20 or $18 million that we taxpayers would like refunded.