The Obama administration released its budget today, and among other things it includes $17 billion in program cuts, which, as the Washington Post reminds us, “would amount to only about one-half of 1 percent of the $3.4 trillion federal budget.” Fair enough, even though I think these exercises are useful anyway. There’s less room for discretionary spending cuts than people think, but just being willing to admit that some programs don’t work is a worthwhile signal to send regardless of whether or not the dollar amount ends up being huge. Take this, for example:
Educational attaché, Paris, France ($632,000). The Department of Education can use e-mail, video conferencing, and modest travel to replace a full-time representative to UNESCO in Paris, France.
Seriously? A single UNESCO rep costs us $632,000? Does he live at Versailles? Nice gig if you can get it, I guess.
UPDATE: Matt Yglesias has the official explanation here.