Budget Tricks Delay Real Pain

The details of last weekend’s $38 billion budget deal are finally out, and there's some good news for Democrats upset about cut programs: Officials said some of the most grim-sounding cuts are actually accounting gimmicks that won't necessarily result in lost jobs or service cutbacks. Many of the cuts will come from accounts such as unspent census funds, leftover construction funding, and $2.5 billion in highway funding that had already been restricted anyway. Another $10 billion in cuts has already been enacted while negotiations were extended past multiple deadlines. Other hits, though, come from some of Obama's biggest presidential priorities, including education, labor, and health programs. Republicans were able to terminate more than 55 programs in these areas, saving more than $1 billion. The Environmental Protection Agency will also see a $1.6 billion cut. Democrats succeeded in beating back the most severe cuts initially proposed aimed at new health-care and food-safety laws, but were not able to reduce military spending.