Senator Mary Landrieu (D – LA) wants you to know that she has had enough of budget cuts to the discretionary budget. “I am not going to keep cutting the discretionary budget, which by the way is not out of control, despite what you hear on Fox News,” said Senator Landrieu during a floor speech.
Senator Landrieu actually sort of has a point. In 2011, mandatory spending (Social Security, Medicare, interest on the national debt, etc.) made up about 62% of all federal spending, or about $2.25 trillion. That same year, total federal tax receipts totaled $2.3 trillion, meaning mandatory spending ate up just about every single dollar of all federal tax revenues. By the time we get to discretionary spending, we’re pretty much already into deficit territory.
Which isn’t to say that there aren’t areas in discretionary spending which can be cut, but the problem as Senator Landrieu notes is mandatory spending. Though, in typically muddled Washington DC fashion, right after correctly pointing out that mandatory spending is our problem Senator Landrieu railed against any cuts to the entitlement programs which make up the bulk of that mandatory spending.