All through budget talks late last year and into this year, Republicans were flirting with a government shutdown unless there were major changes and big cuts made. The whole exercise was a big dog-and-pony show so that the Republicans could appear tough on fiscal policy.
Well, according to the Congressional Budget Office, they were about as tough as a downy pillow. Seems that big spending cut bill passed by Congress and signed by the President, which was advertised to have cut spending by $38 billion, actually increased discretionary spending by $3 billion over the remainder of the fiscal year. Had Congress done nothing, they would have spent $3 billion less by the end of September.
How is this possible? Well, when spending was shifted away from defense into more immediate activities, it forced the government to spend money on items that were billed sooner rather than later.
In fairness, this finding depends on a narrower vision of what the original bill intended to do. But in the final analysis, our government will spend more in this fiscal year than it needed to do.
Do I believe that the Democrats and Obama saw this coming? No. But I do believe that if they don't exploit this, they'll miss an opportunity to paint the Republicans, who brought pitchforks and torches to the bargaining table, screaming about getting our fiscal house in order, as the party of fiscal dishonesty. The GOP are political assholes, pure and simple.