But cuts in this domestic “discretionary” spending can’t do the job alone, as Paul Hansen, western states regional director for The Concord Coalition, explains in a recent guest column in the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
Instead of taking a comprehensive approach, Hansen says, elected officials “keep coming back to the same places to look for more and more savings, and they never get the larger deficit-reduction job done.” Some popular programs involving what many people consider basic government functions “have been disproportionately targeted for cuts, producing inefficiencies, public frustration and poor long-term policies.”
Natural resource conservation programs, Hansen writes, provide a telling example: “The portion of the federal budget that covers all environmental and natural resource funding, called Function 300, has been cut substantially in recent decades. Thirty years ago, almost 4 percent of federal spending went to these programs. Today, this line item receives less than 1 percent, just $35 billion.”