Budgets: Where's the (Sliced) Beef?

Don't get me wrong - there are real cuts in these budgets working their way through the House and Senate this week, among them 11 percent off local government revenue sharing, and stiffing the bill from Medicaid doctors and hospitals another 4 percent, on top of 4 percent earlier this year. (And who do you think ends up paying higher doctor and insurance bills instead, hmmm?)

However, there's more than a few budgets where, despite draconian "cuts," somehow the bottom line is higher than the previous year. The budgeteers can explain why, no, these really are cuts, and some of the time they're correct, but it's still jarring to see things like this in MichiganVotes.org:

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The House-Senate conference report for the Department of Human Services (Welfare) budget. This would appropriate $5.941 billion in gross spending, compared to $4.580 billion enrolled in 2008.  $4.974 billion of this budget is federal money, compared to $3.174 billion in FY 2008-2009.
Passed in the House (69 to 39)
Passed in the Senate (20-17)
(The "no" votes are people who want to spend more.)