Don’t savings lower the deficit?

AP’s Andrew Taylor describes a part of the federal budget debate that needs clarification for the average voter and others regarding this current round of ‘negotiations’:

Some $18 billion of the spending cuts involve cuts to so-called mandatory programs whose budgets run largely on autopilot. To the dismay of budget purists, these cuts often involve phantom savings allowed under the decidedly arcane rules of congressional budgeting. They include mopping up $2.5 billion in unused money from federal highway programs and $5 billion in fudged savings from capping payments from a Justice Department trust fund for crime victims

Both ideas officially “score” as savings that could be used to pay for spending elsewhere in the day-to-day budgets of domestic agencies. But they have little impact, if any, on the deficit.

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