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Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C. are patting themselves on the back for a “bipartisan” spending agreement that will keep the federal government running for another 2 weeks. They’re also debating the impact of future “budget cuts” ranging from $41 billion (the amount Democrats are proposing) and $61 billion (the amount the GOP is asking for).

All the while, the mainstream media is churning out dozens of stories about the potentially disastrous impact of these spending “reductions,” which if approved would amount to an infinitesimally small percentage of the nation’s $3.7 trillion budget.

Ready for a reality check?

Every penny of the Democratic cuts – and the vast majority of the Republican cuts – are completely illusory.

How so? Well, both parties are basing their “spending reductions” on President Barack Obama’s proposed FY 2011 budget – which never became law. What’s the difference between Obama’s proposed budget and what’s actually being spent this year?

You guessed it … $41 billion.

That means Democrats are actually proposing $0 in cuts, while Republicans are proposed $20 billion.

That’s embarrassing … and the first real evidence that the GOP is not serious about reducing the size and scope of our runaway federal government, which has seen its budget double and its debt more than double over the last decade.

So … what should be cut?

Well, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn recently discovered $703 billion in “un-obligated” funds – including more than $80 billion that has been sitting in agency accounts for more than six years. That sounds like a good place to start. And on Tuesday, a new Government Accounting Office (GAO) report highlighted another $100 billion in potential cuts.

Meanwhile there’s $47 billion to be saved simply by rolling back federal salaries to a level that is equal to private sector pay grades.

A billion here, a billion there … sooner or later we’re talking about real savings, right?

Of course America will never get a handle on its $14.3 trillion debt without addressing the entitlement behemoths of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, three programs which currently consume half of the federal budget (and are growing like weeds). And by “addressing,” we mean cutting – or ideally, privatizing.

Voters threw Republicans out in 2006 because they failed to control spending. They threw Democrats out in 2010 for the same reason.

Maybe it’s time we threw both parties out in 2012 …