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January 25, 2011 4:41 PM Useless Budget Cuts

By Daniel Luzer

If some Republicans in Congress had their way, there would be a lot of education programs cut off from federal support. Last Thursday the Republican Study Committee, a group of budget-cutting House Republicans, presented its plan to cut spending. The cuts wouldn’t help much at all.

The committee’s plan would eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. The plan would also cut all the programs proposed for abolition in 2009 under the “Priorities in Education Spending Act.”

According to the Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), a member of the Republican Study Committee these cuts are beneficial because, “the message from the American people in November was loud and clear. They want us to put an end to the spending binge in Washington, DC and return to an era of fiscal responsibility.”

Well duly noted, but this spending binge doesn’t have anything to do with the National Endowment for the Humanities. That’s because things like NEH are cheap. As Kevin Drum put it back in November: “Any serious long-term deficit plan will spend about 1 percent of its time on the discretionary budget, 1 percent on Social Security, and 98 percent on healthcare.”

All of those cuts to education programs described above would save the federal government about $1.6 billion a year. That’s only slightly more than the federal government pays in interest on the National Debt, in a single day.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer