No one is serious about cutting the federal budget
This Friday is the deadline for congress to pass another continuing budget resolution to avoid a “shutdown” of the federal government (more here). The republicans are eager to impose budget “cuts” which the regime and the democrats characterize as “extreme” (more here). Of course this absurd political kabuki theater could have been avoided if the previous congress had done their job and passed a budget for 2011. Spineless republicans, who gained control of the House in the last election largely on the promise of fiscal responsibility, initially proposed $100B in spending cuts to the current budget and are now dialing back their proposal after being demonized by democrats and the state-run media. It appears that the magic number to reach a compromise is now around $33B. And just how significant is this figure? This story (from CATO) explains it:
Today the Cato Institute placed an ad in major newspapers highlighting specific spending cuts that policymakers should make to restore our country’s fiscal sanity and economic stability. Our public call for policymakers to demonstrate leadership on spending cuts comes in the midst of the on-going battle on Capitol Hill over funding the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011.
A graphic at the top of the ad measures the $61 billion in cuts that Republicans have proposed against fiscal 2011 estimates for total spending, the deficit, and interest on the debt. As the graphic shows and the ad notes, it is clear that “leaders and members of both parties are in deep denial about the fiscal emergency we face.”
There are news reports that Republican and Democrat negotiators are heading toward a compromise figure of $33 billion in spending cuts. Let’s put that figure in perspective alongside the GOP’s original proposal to cut a whopping $61 billion:
Record spending levels…trillion dollar plus deficits…mountainous debt…a weak economy…
What, Congress worry?
Kind of puts it into perspective, doesn’t it? And what about that government shutdown? Rep. Mike Pence (R-TX) sums it up nicely (more here):
“…if congress can’t cut $61 billion from the budget, the government should be shut down.”
Here’s a great idea: Shut it down. After all, it doesn’t shut down completely – just “non-essential” services. (Don’t you just love that phrase? If they’re non-essential, why do they exist in the first place?) People will still get their social security, medicare/medicaid, and welfare checks. Taxpayers will still pay their taxes. Better yet, lets give the entire government a 21 month vacation – just keep a skeleton crew in DC. Congress could meet with their constituents, campaign for the 2012 elections, schmooze with lobbyists, whatever; then come back and start fresh in 2013. Twenty one months free of government FAIL – imagine the savings to the taxpayer!