Does anyone really believe that real spending will be cut? Or, will it be the usual smoke and mirrors of cuting future spending. And, is cutting spending by 3% really an austerity measure?
The only thing I see is spending and tax increases.
Here's a quick question for the folks earnestly in favor of such a trade-off: How many times between 1980 (when Ronald Reagan was elected) and 2011 (last year for which full data are in) have inflation-adjusted, year-over-year government expenditures declined? That strikes me as a decent indicator of just how serious the federal government can be about restraining spending in recent years. The answer, using constant 2005 dollars and relying on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) tables (see table 1.3)? Four times, in 1987, 1993, 2007, and 2010. At least two of those four years warrant asterisks, too: In 2007, spending was almost exactly flat, and the decline in 2010 mostly had to do with the inability of the federal government to get its shit together and pass a budget.