[W]hen CBO estimated the initial House bill in February, it projected that the $61.3 billion in nonemergency appropriations cuts would result in $9.2 billion in outlay reductions by Sept. 30 when measured against comparable outlay estimates two months earlier, on Dec. 20.
By comparison, the precise appropriations cut now, $37.7 billion, translates into a vastly smaller sum, $352 million, using the same standard.
A more accurate picture can be drawn by separating out the annual Pentagon portion of the bills.
When this is done, the House bill in February can be seen as having truly proposed to cut more than $68 billion from largely domestic and foreign aid appropriations. The resulting 2011 outlay reduction forecast by CBO was about $18 billion – a roughly 4-1 ratio.
“H.R. 1, the original House GOP budget that was supported by Tea Parters and was passed in February, had a cuts-to-outlay reduction ratio of 4 to 1 for non-defense spending,” writes McCormack. “The ratio for the CR agreed to by Boehner, Reid, and Obama is 5 to 1.”
Frankly, even H.R. 1 was inadequate in dealing with the longer-term fiscal crisis. But my assesment of the current deal remains unchanged: If this is an opening salvo in the fight against spending, the beginning of slowly but surely reversing the trajectory of government growth without hamfisted political blundering, then all to the good. If it is the beginning of a pattern of overpromising and underdelivering on spending, then we are in dire straits. What matters most is what comes next.