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Demsí Dull Budget Scissors. Why is it so hard to cut so little?
National Review ^ | 03/11/2011 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 03/11/2011 6:44:57 AM PST by SeekAndFind

According to earthly logic, if you got a raise of 10 percent last year, but this year you got a raise of only 8 percent, you still got a raise. On Planet Washington, that qualifies as an indefensible slashing.

So when the GOP actually cut $4 billion from the budget last week, the Democrats acted as if it was an involuntary amputation.

Now the GOP wants to cut $61 billion of discretionary non-defense spending from the total budget of $3.7 trillion, and Democrats are responding as if this will spell the end of Western civilization.

But given their terror of forcing a government shutdown in this tea-soaked climate, Democrats were forced to counteroffer with a cut of $10.5 billion, or 0.28 percent of the federal budget. Imagine you have a budget of $10,000 (about 40 percent of it borrowed on a credit card), then “slash” 28 bucks. That’s what it’s like to be a frugal Democrat.

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace repeatedly pressed Sen. Dick Durbin: Is $10.5 billion in cuts “really the best the Democrats can do?” The No. 2 Senate Democrat responded, eventually: “We’ve pushed this to the limit.” Any cuts beyond that would simply crater our economy and gut “investments” to make us competitive with China. Apparently, Durbin thinks trimming the staff at the Oregon National Laboratory will result in us all becoming busboys at a Beijing restaurant.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, makes Durbin look stingier than the guy who invented copper wire by refusing to let go of a penny. Her solution to the deficit is — wait for it — to spend a whole bunch more. In October, Pelosi said that every dollar spent on unemployment benefits and food stamps puts another $1.79 into economy. “It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance.”

If that were true, why not drop bags of cash from C-130s over the unemployed and poor?

Her latest version of teenage-mutant-ninja Keynesianism is to “invest” even more on education. “Nothing brings more to the treasury than investing in education,” Pelosi said.

Never mind that Washington has “invested” roughly $2 trillion in education since 1965. And forget the fact that spending on education at all levels of government has gone from $55,000 (in 2010 dollars) for one student’s K–12 student in 1970 to $155,000 in 2009, according to Cato Institute scholar Andrew Coulson, while “overall achievement has stagnated or declined, depending on the subject.”

Would another trillion in education spending really have a greater return than, say, allowing American companies to drill for the billions of gallons of oil under our soil and the trillions of cubic feet of natural gas? Don’t ask Pelosi. Like Bluto in Animal House talking about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor, she’s on a roll.

Why am I talking about Durbin and Pelosi? Well, Obama is in a fetal crouch under the Oval Office desk, muttering something about the need for courage and bipartisanship while quietly proposing $6.5 billion in cuts, which the Congressional Budget Office said is really only $4.7 billion. (That’s about $700 million more than the U.S. spends in borrowed money every day. Imagine someone in obscene debt going a little more than 24 hours without using his credit card. Problem solved!)

Oh, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid seems determined to keep talking until the men in the white coats escort him off the Senate floor. He was last heard saying the GOP has gone crazy because it had cut funding to a cowboy-poetry festival in Nevada. No, really. Stop laughing.

In 2007, the budget was 19.6 percent of the GDP. In 2009, it went up to 25 percent of GDP. That’s where the Democrats would like it to stay.

What happened? The financial crisis, of course. But as many of us suggested at the time, one of the Democrats’ real motives behind the stimulus was to inflate the “baseline” budget so that huge increases would never be reversed thanks to the D.C. logic that a cut in growth is a cut.

Now, Democrats greet any attempt to restore the size of government to its pre-crisis size — when we were still living way above our means — as if America would be plunged into the Stone Age.

Look at it this way. Those heartless Republican bastards would cut 2011 non-defense discretionary spending from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent of GDP. Under Bill Clinton, such spending averaged 3.1 percent of GDP.

We owe $14 trillion we don’t have. Our total liabilities — i.e., Social Security and other entitlements — dwarf that. Obviously, we can’t just cut discretionary spending alone. But if it’s this hard to ask rough-rider poets to cowboy up, how are we going to deal with what everyone agrees is the much harder stuff?

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: budget; budgetcuts; debt; democrats

1 posted on 03/11/2011 6:45:00 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Am I naive to think we could cut a days worth of deficit every month (230 billion)?


2 posted on 03/11/2011 6:57:29 AM PST by vicar7
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To: SeekAndFind

The Democrats could care less if the country goes bankrupt as long as they can get back into power.


3 posted on 03/11/2011 6:59:02 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: vicar7

Truth is: Republicans cruel budget cuts guarantee mass murder! “If we cut Cowboy poetry... those people will cease to exist”! (Dingy Harry). GOP bloody b*stards!

NYT headline: Thousands vanish in Nevada! Experts say it’s NOT the rapture... the evil GOP cut funding for Cowboy Poetry! How many more must die by the evil sword of GOP cuts?


4 posted on 03/11/2011 7:05:40 AM PST by FiddlePig (truth is hard... lies are easy - http://redneckoblogger.blogspot.com)
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To: goldstategop

Their whole fathog living off the taxpayers back collation would turn and cannibalize themselves. You think Obama threw ‘friends’ under the bus? Wait until all the little Democrat piggies can’t get their snouts in the trough.

If the GOP had any stones or backbone at all, thy’ed go to critical Democrat groups and start offering them( for now ) seats on the budget lifeboat. This would produce rat panic amongst those outside the budget.


5 posted on 03/11/2011 7:10:02 AM PST by Leisler (Our debts are someone's profit. Follow the money, the vig.....)
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To: SeekAndFind

Why is it so hard to cut so little? Because the Dims are trying to win their elections in 2012, and so they don’t want to PO any of their voters by cutting any programs with substantial constituencies.


6 posted on 03/11/2011 7:13:10 AM PST by savedbygrace (But God.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Most people do not put this argument in true perspective.

Consider a family with an annual budget of $150,000 per year.

The Republicans are saying they can cut $45 a week from that budget. The Democrats are saying that anything over $3 per week will devastate the country and the economy.

Give me a break!

How many families in America have had to deal with cuts of $100 or more per week? And those families survived and carried on.

The spoiled brats in Washington disgust me and are a disgrace to the United States of America.

7 posted on 03/11/2011 7:14:44 AM PST by CMAC51
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To: SeekAndFind

It is hard for Dems to cut because they are weak, spineless, and without any credible, realistic understanding of economics. “Reality” does not exist in their dictionary. And they either did not take, slept through, or flunked Econ 101. And the Republicans during Bush’s term acted the same way, so there is plenty of blame to go around.


8 posted on 03/11/2011 7:15:11 AM PST by DennisR (Look around - God gives countless, indisputable clues that He does, indeed, exist.)
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To: goldstategop

The dims are actively working to bankrupt this country so that they can blame the repubs and get back in power.


9 posted on 03/11/2011 7:17:22 AM PST by Texas resident (Hunkered Down)
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To: SeekAndFind
Republicans need to just DO IT.

Does anyone really believe the world will end if we go back to the 2008 budget?

Apocolyptic whinnying by the democrats will begin ringing hollow real fast if the GOP would just DO THEIR JOBS.

10 posted on 03/11/2011 7:17:49 AM PST by skeeter
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To: Texas resident

Exactly. The last thing on they want to do is cut off at the knees the people who depend on them and who vote reliably for them.


11 posted on 03/11/2011 7:19:10 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: skeeter

The GOP should push a $500 billion cut and dare the Democrats in the Senate to vote it down. If they do, the government can shut down for the rest of the year.

No one will miss it.


12 posted on 03/11/2011 7:20:47 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Leisler

Interesting concept! Bump!


13 posted on 03/11/2011 7:28:45 AM PST by TEXOKIE (Anarchy IS the strategy of the forces of darkness!)
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To: goldstategop

“The GOP should push a $500 billion cut and dare the Democrats in the Senate to vote it down”

You assume that the GOP would actually like to cut anything. That is a faulty assumption.

You watch what they do, not what they say. We didn’t get into this much debt without broad political consensus amongst the two dominant parties.

We got here with one party saying “spend” and the other one saying “spend more”.


14 posted on 03/11/2011 7:32:54 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: RFEngineer

Right now they’re arguing over a difference of $5 billion a month.

That’s how seriously they’re taking our mounting national debt.


15 posted on 03/11/2011 7:36:01 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

“Right now they’re arguing over a difference of $5 billion a month.”

That’s exactly my point. One side is saying “spend” the other side is saying “spend more”.

Nobody is even contemplating a balanced budget, or anything approaching one.

The GOP doesn’t give a damn about reducing spending, and the Democrats give slightly less of a damn than the GOP.


16 posted on 03/11/2011 7:39:44 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: FiddlePig

Lol!!


17 posted on 03/11/2011 7:43:55 AM PST by vicar7
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To: SeekAndFind

We owe $14 trillion we don’t have and the democrats can’t stop spending.Men in the white coats required.


18 posted on 03/11/2011 10:00:44 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: SeekAndFind

Levin: Why is Boehner being a coward?
Posted by The Right Scoop on Mar 11, 2011 in Politics

Levin explains that the last Congress is trying to control the spending habits of future Congresses through this hidden ObamaCare funding, and Boehner, despite already breaking a rule to stop other appropriations, refuses to break the same rule to stop this funding. Thus Levin asks why is Boehner being a coward.

He adds that any Representative that votes for this CR is voting to fund ObamaCare, and he’ll see to it that they have to answer for it in their districts. He also adds, ‘grow a pair’.

Audio:

http://www.therightscoop.com/levin-why-is-boehner-being-a-coward/


19 posted on 03/12/2011 8:40:29 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: RFEngineer; goldstategop
Nobody is even contemplating a balanced budget, or anything approaching one.

The current haggling is over the funding for the current fiscal year's discretionary spending. Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said he's announcing a plan for next year's budget in April that will address entitlements. He was working with former Congressional Budget Office chief Alice Rivlin on a plan for the budget. I believe she's a rat. I don't know if they could agree on anything.

Balanced-budget dream will take decades even for deficit hawks

I'd like to think we can do better than that, but baby boomers getting entitlements won't make things so easy.

20 posted on 03/14/2011 6:07:31 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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