Just what was cut from the 2011 budget?

Alisa Roth Apr 12, 2011

Just what was cut from the 2011 budget?

Alisa Roth Apr 12, 2011


JEREMY HOBSON: We’re finally getting the details of the cuts from this year’s federal budget that helped avert a government shutdown last Friday. House lawmakers released the official plan last night. It’ll be voted on before the end of the week. Some of the cuts are being called accounting tricks. Others are very real.

Marketplace’s Alisa Roth reports.

ALISA ROTH: Here are a few of the cuts we’ve heard about so far: the positions of White House czars of health care, climate change, autos and urban affairs are all being eliminated. A program that helps the National Parks buy land will survive, but it’s losing $30 million in funding. The EPA and the National Institutes of Health are in similar situations.

Mark Vitner is an economist at Wells Fargo. Even though the cuts are relatively small, he says they will represent a major shift for the economy.

MARK VITNER: Clearly government spending is going to be a drag on growth over the next couple of years. And that marks a change because the last couple of years, government spending has been a bit of a tailwind.

He says no one area of cuts stands out as hurting the economy. But he says there could be some regional fallout — particularly in places like Washington, DC, where the local economy has been unusually strong lately.

In New York I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: As President Obama tomorrow prepares to outline his vision of federal budgets to come, we’re just now getting some of the details of the 2011 budget plan that averted a government shutdown.

Marketplace’s Alisa Roth is with us live from our New York studio with a glimpse. Good morning.

ALISA ROTH: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: So what’s on the chopping block here?

ROTH: Well, it’s a little complicated because the cuts were made in so many different ways. And as you said, we’re still getting the details. But some people are going to loose their jobs. You know how the White House hires those so-called ‘czars’ to oversee particular policy areas. The positions responsibly for health care, climate change, autos and urban affairs are all going to be eliminated. In some cases, programs are going to lose money, but not be dissolved entirely. In that category, a program that helps the national parks buy land will lose $30 million.

And then there are some cuts, which are essentially paper cuts, because they get rid of projects that are already dead. For example, there was about $3 billion that members of Congress had been allocated to local transportation projects, but that was never actually spent.

CHIOTAKIS: So, all right, what gets to stay then?

ROTH: Well, as we were just talking about, some of this is a matter of perspective, but Pell Grants — that is college money for low-income students — were one of the things Democrats were worried would get cut. They’ve actually survived. Planned Parenthood gets to keep some money. The EPA’s budget is being cut, but by less than had been proposed. Ditto for the National Institutes of Health.

And one that we’ve been following closely here on public radio: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will keep its funding.

CHIOTAKIS: We’re certainly keeping an eye on that. All right, Marketplace’s Alisa Roth from New York. Alisa, thanks.

ROTH: You’re welcome.

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