Stephen Hendersen couldn’t be more wrong on the deficit negotiations:
But the GOP is certainly indulging an astounding act of economic hostage-taking.
Obama has already agreed to deep cuts in domestic spending, by some estimates as low as what it was more than 60 years ago. He has capitulated on changes to Medicare and Social Security — changes that make many in his own party cringe. And he has retreated on tax reform to the point where he is simply asking for some of the wealthiest Americans to give up deductions and loopholes that even many in the GOP say make little sense.
Those evil Republicans are so ideological, that not even “Grown-up” Obama can reign them in.
The president has been all give/no take in these negotiations. Every plan he has agreed to has specified deep cuts to spending. Over the weekend, he even backed the plan put forth by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which has some $2.7 trillion in spending cuts with no revenue increases.
It’s a bad plan, one that not only ignores the country’s long-term budget needs but is also irresponsibly ignorant of issues like the country’s growing wealth gap, which was highlighted this week in a study by the Pew Research Center.
Obama and the other Democrats should be insisting that vanishing economic opportunity, increased child poverty and hunger be priorities for budget discussions. Their constituents — the ones who elected them to office — expect that those interests will be guarded.
The vanishing economic opportunity is a result of democratic policies. The war on Poverty has made the cause worse. The only interests that are “guarded” by the continued social policies of the left are those who are in the employment of the government.
Henderson calls the Republicans terrorists. For claiming that Obama’s “deep cuts” are not enough. But here’s the reality of the situation. There are NO CUTS. Anywhere. In anyone’s plan. None.
Everyone is talking about Draconian cuts to the budget. The President won’t sign the Boehner Plan because of the cuts. Yet there are no cuts in that plan or in any plan proposed.
There are no cuts. None. Zip, Nada, Bupkis, Zero. None
Got it? None. No where. No real cuts, because government cuts differ from the way you and I make cuts to our budget. We make ACTUAL cuts. We cancel cable. Eat hamburger a bit more. We eliminated vacations. Not in Washingtoon.
If Congress were to freeze spending: we will spend next year precisely what we spent this year on each project, none of them increased and none decreased – if Congress were to do that, the result would officially be a $9.5 Trillion cut. It would be a cut in government pay, in school lunches, in Medicare and Medicaid, to the Army and Navy, to the DOE SWAT team and the Department of Agriculture Pet Bunny Inspectors, a cut to Head Start, a cut the FDA, a cut to – well, you get the idea. Not spending more money every year is a cut, and a freeze on spending is a $9.5 Trillion Cut in Federal Spending. Cuts to school lunches, Medicare, Medicaid – well, we’ve said all that. Not spending more is a cut.
So, to apply Washington logic (and demagoguery) to my household budget, I can spend every bit I spent last year. I simply can’t upgrade anything. Exact same dollar amount. But I’ve CUT my budget. My husband will be so proud of me.
All these “cuts” – these horrible, crippling cuts, are merely increases of a little bit less.
So: if we adopt the Boehner Plan, we get what amounts to a $10 Trillion increase in spending over the next decade. And that, we are told, is the best we can hope for, and we ought to wheedle the Democrats and the President graciously to concede to give it to us good and hard.
Oh, and we get called a terrorist for asking for THAT.
A freeze in spending: a mandate that no department of government spend more next year than it spent this year; will be reported as a $9.5 Trillion cut. If Boehner gets all he asks for and then some, say a $1.5 Trillion cut over the next decade, he will have locked in an $8 Trillion increase in government expenditures (and thus the Deficit) over the next ten years. And the Democrats will decry the Draconian cuts in school lunches, education spending, Medicare, etc., etc. And at the moment the “non partisan Congressional Budget Office” believes that Boehner Plan would only “cut” $0.85 Trillion over ten years, meaning $850 Billion, meaning $85 Billion/year. The United States borrows $100 Billion a month.
I say we go for that $9.5 Trillion cut. That sounds AWESOME. Can’t everyone live on what they got last year? I know most households in America are doing just that. If not living with less.
The Boehner plan only saves $85 billion a year, when we borrow $100 billion a MONTH. That is frightening.
Pournelle says the cuts are not cuts (of course) but “temporary reductions in spending increases.” I say that we all need to refer to them as such. Any time anyone says the word “cuts” in regard the the deficit and debt ceiling, you need to interrupt them and say “You mean, the temporary reductions in spending increases?”
Does he endorse the Boehner plan? No, but at this point what option do we have? But this is the way it should be presented:
We have to get through this. We will probably do it with some variant of the Boehner Plan. I hate that, but the one thing Boehner must not do is pretend he has made cuts. He should be honest. “I have got an agreement to raise the deficit $9 Trillion instead of $10 Trillion over the next decade, assuming that the Democrats actually agree. We have cut nothing. We will raise the Debt Ceiling because the President gives us no choice.” Say that, not that you have “compromised” and made budget cuts.
So, repeat after me: There are no cuts in this, or any, of the plans. None. Nada. Zilch.
I emailed Stephen Henderson this morning about his piece, and after responding, I replied with bits from the Pournelle piece. To which I got the following:
Appreciate your point of view… Don’t think we can come to agreement… This kind of cynicism is disappointing, and based on categorical inaccuracies but also scarily widespread…
Thanks again for writing…
So, to argue that the government cannot be trusted to cut, since they never have, is cynical and inaccurate. As for “scarily widespread”, I’m just surprised he didn’t mention the Tea Party out-right.