In order to get less Medicaid and teacher funding than we actually need, we're cutting food stamps by $6.7 billion (and closing some foreign tax loopholes, rescinding some spending decisions and changing Medicaid's drug pricing).

…Democrats needed to offset spending on two worthy, important programs. So they're cutting another important, worthy program [the cost of which, during the recession, has ballooned from an expected $20 billion to about $65 billion because the number of people who needed help skyrocketed to more than 40 million]. But you really can't think of a worse program to cut than SNAP. SNAP is an extraordinarily well-targeted stimulus. It goes to poor households, for something they need to buy. According to Mark Zandi's numbers, it's literally the most stimulative way to spend a dollar: Better than state and local aid, or unemployment insurance. You get more than $1.70 of economic activity for each buck you put in.

There's a part of me that wants to use this to knock down the canard that government is full of obvious waste and inefficiency. Democrats don't like to cut food stamps, and they'd avoid it if they thought they could. Budget rhetoric is full of easy choices, but budgets are about hard choices, and this is a hard, and ugly, choice.

But this is also a question of priorities, of what gets cut. Bernie Sanders put up an amendment last month to cut about $35 billion in oil and gas subsidies. It failed. Republicans are arguing to extend Bush's tax cuts for the rich with no offsets, and they may well succeed. But food assistance for poor families? You can get the votes to slash those.
Current Department of Defense budget, including spending on "overseas contingency operations" for Fiscal Year 2010: $663.8 billion.

If defense-related expenditures budgeted by departments other than Defense are included, the US will spend, in total, between $800 billion and $1 trillion in FY2010 on defense.

And we're slashing the budget for food stamps.

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