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Note to the New Congress: We’ve Already Achieved $2.4 Trillion Dollars in Lopsided Deficit Reduction

“Will there be a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff?”

That was the question that rang out for months from policy makers, journalists, and concerned onlookers everywhere. And in the first few days of January, the American Taxpayer Relief Act was signed into law, resolving several of the tax and budget issues known as the “fiscal cliff.” Among other things, it requires the very wealthiest to pay a fairer share of taxes, extends tax credits that benefit hardworking families for five years, extends unemployment insurance benefits for a year, and delays across-the-board spending cuts for two months.

However, another series of fiscal showdowns are looming. Some lawmakers are threatening to force the United States to default on its obligations or shut down operations unless deep cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other social programs are enacted.

Three-quarters of deficit reduction to dat has been spending cuts. [SOURCE: Center for American Progress]
Source: Center for American Progress

Just in time for upcoming budget debates, a new Center for American Progress report highlights something we ought to be well-aware of: $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction has been enacted so far – with nearly $3 coming from spending cuts for every $1 in revenue increases.

That’s right: when you compare just spending cuts and revenue increases (excluding interest savings for a moment), the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases is nearly 3:1. The new report outlines how “since the start of fiscal year 2011, Congress and the president have cut about $1.5 trillion in programmatic spending, raised about $630 billion in new revenue, and generated about $300 billion in interest savings.” So while some congressional leaders call for further spending cuts, the new Congress should note that the approach so far has hammered funding for programs like child care, Head Start, K-12 education, community health services, medical research, job training, food safety, and many more. (See CAP’s chart at right.)

As the budget debate heats up, we'll be fighting for a budget that works for women and families. That means protecting programs vital to women and their families from more cuts – and closing tax loopholes for large corporations and the wealthiest Americans.