Carolyn Lochead of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at the budget cuts proposed in the congressional Republicans’ “Tread Boldly” campaign document and comes away unimpressed:
Among the ideas for reducing the nation’s $13 trillion debt (mislabeled “deficit” in the pamphlet) is a call to “eliminate unnecessary and duplicative federal programs,” a well-worn bullet point that fails to name any such program. Others, such as canceling what’s left of the bank rescue and President Obama’s stimulus in addition to freezing federal hiring, are slightly more specific but yield sums nowhere near what’s necessary to tame the rising debt.
The document calls for extending $3.1 trillion in expiring Bush administration tax cuts, the vast majority of which Obama and Democratic leaders wholeheartedly embrace, except for the tax cuts for high earners. Defense spending, which has more than doubled since 2001, dwarfing every other budget category, goes unmentioned. The most telling omission is Medicare, the jet engine of U.S. deficits.
And the beat goes on. Lochead praises Paul Ryan’s Roadmap but notes that he’s been hung out to dry by party bosses.