Romney promises to immediately cut them by 5 percent. But they would have to be cut more than 20 percent to meet his overall budget goals, assuming veterans' health care is exempted. It's almost unthinkable that lawmakers would go along with cuts of such magnitude for air traffic control and food inspection or to agencies like NASA, the FBI, Border Patrol and the Centers for Disease Control.
"It's just not sustainable," said GOP lobbyist Jim Dyer, a former staff director for the House Appropriations Committee. "What do you want to do with the national parks? Which ones do you want to close? ...The only way it adds up is if you go after the big, popular stuff, and nobody talks about that now."
Among the few specific cuts listed in Romney's campaign literature are proposals to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition, eliminate federal family planning money, privatize the money-losing Amtrak system and trim foreign aid.
—OTHER BENEFIT PROGRAMS: Like Ryan's budget, the Romney plan would also cut benefit programs other than Social Security and Medicare. They include food stamps, school lunches, crop subsidies, Supplemental Security Income for very poor seniors and disabled people, unemployment insurance, veterans' pensions and refundable tax credits to the working poor.
Based on the Romney materials, it's impossible to project the size of the cuts to such programs. Suffice it to say, they would be controversial.
"There's good reason why Ryan's budget and the Romney budget don't have details," said Jim Horney, a budget analyst with the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy priorities think tank. "If people knew what it would actually have to be done to accomplish what they're saying should be done, it's hard to imagine there would be widespread support for it."
Romney's spending outline: http://www.mittromney.com/issues/spending
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