The Left really hates not to spend money. It really, really doesn’t like to leave any money in people’s pockets (rather than on the table, as the saying normally goes!).
The final compromise was $38.5 billion below 2010’s funding levels. That’s $78.5 billion below President Obama’s original budget proposal, which would’ve added $40 billion to 2010’s funding levels, and $6.5 billion below John Boehner’s original counteroffer, which would’ve subtracted $32 billion from 2010’s budget totals. In the end, the real negotiation was not between the Republicans and the Democrats, or even the Republicans and the White House. It was between John Boehner and the conservative wing of his party. And once that became clear, it turned out that Boehner’s original offer wasn’t even in the middle. It was slightly center-left.
Klein is a bright guy, though a bit naive. After all, he really believes that the Medicare benefit reductions will stick under ObamaCare, even though officials at the Congressional Budget Office and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have all had a polite laugh at the idea.
Most remarkable, however, is to consider the unmentioned base for the numbers he cites. Spending in 2011 will run about $3.8 trillion, give or take a few dozen billion–chump change these days. The deficit is likely to exceed $1.5 trillion, and some estimates run higher. Which means the budget cut agreed to last Friday is around one percent of total spending and two percent of the deficit. The reduction from President Barack Obama’s original budget proposal was about two percent of total spending and four percent of the deficit.
Egads. A budget cut of between one and two percent! How will the republic survive?
It demonstrates how far Leviathan has grown that the thought of a one to two percent reduction in a $3.8 trillion budget is viewed as cause for alarm.
Much bigger cuts are required to achieve any kind of reasonable fiscal balance, and they will be painful, since they have to come out of the big boulders–Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Pentagon. But we’re not likely to address the big problems if we aren’t able to make serious reductions in the plethora of dubious grants, subsidies, loans, agencies, services, and miscellaneous stuff that falls in the “discretionary” category. That no more than a two percent cut was possible demonstrates how far we have to go to avoid fiscal disaster.