I’ve dug out of some deadlines long enough to look at the Republican Study Committee’s budget proposal, which Jed Babbin covered for us on the main site. The RSC goes after spending that richly deserves to be cut. But it also illustrates the difficultly of wringing significant savings from the federal budget while leaving the big entitlement programs untouched and focusing almost entirely on non-defense discretionary spending.
For example, the RSC budget plan rolls back all domestic discretionary spending to 2006 levels and freezes them there for ten years. Now, I happen to think even the 2006 levels were too high. But it is nevertheless hard to imagine a budget cap that touches every major federal program paid for out of domestic discretionary spending holding long enough to yield real savings. It’s just not the way of Washington.
Sooner or later, Republicans are going to have to address the entitlements crisis. (I realize I’m not telling most members of the RSC anything they don’t already know.) And if we’re going to stick to domestic discretionary spending, abolishing programs entirely is probably better than freezing them and expecting the caps to hold across multiple Congresses.
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