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Entries in Deficit Reduction (1)

Wednesday
Nov022011

Debt Committee’s Cuts Could Impact Younger Generation: Report

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Countless battles are being waged behind the closed doors of the Congressional deficit-reduction "super committee," which has less than a month to strike an agreement on reducing federal spending by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

But while the committee members battle in secret, the automatic cuts that will take effect if the committee fails to reach an agreement would create a greater imbalance between the old and the young than between the wealthy and the poor.

“When push comes to shove they are going to cut programs for the kids,” said Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. “Elected officials, they don’t want to mess with the elderly. Not only are they a huge constituency, but relative to many other constituencies they are well organized.” In short? Kids can't vote.

The two of the three major entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicaid, will remain untouched by the automatic cuts, which would kick in for the 2013 fiscal year budget if the super committee fails to create a deficit-reduction plan that passes through Congress.

The third big-dollar entitlement program, Medicare, would be cut a maximum of 2 percent, or about $11 billion in the fiscal year 2013 budget, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The vast majority of the back-up plan cuts would fall on discretionary spending, with half of the $109 billion yearly cuts coming from defense spending.

There are few concrete details on how the remaining $55 billion would be cut, but a report by the Federal Funds Information for States, which does budget analyses for the National Governor’s Association, shows that cuts to children’s programs would likely far outpace cuts to programs for the elderly.

Taking into account likely budget reductions for public education, child welfare services, child care subsidies and the low-income infant nutrition program known as WIC, the younger generation lose about $5 billion in federal funding, according to the report.

About $250 million would be cut from programs aimed toward seniors, such as the Administration on Aging and housing for the elderly.

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