The Republicans’ proposed cuts to the federal budget are called “deep” in Washington. So deep that Democrat Sen. John Kerry called them terrible, and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin protests that “Republicans are unfairly and unwisely placing the burden of spending cuts on domestic programs. Durbin tells Fox News Sunday he’s ‘willing to see more deficit reduction, but not out of domestic discretionary spending.’”
The Democrats have offered, instead, a shallower set of cuts, of $6.5 billion from domestic spending, hardly a tenth of what the Republicans offer.
But what the Republicans offer is only 5 percent of the budget deficit. Not the budget, mind you, just the Godzilla-sized deficit.
I’m curious where Durbin wants to cut. He’s offered no reduction in domestic “mandatory spending,” which is made up chiefly of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt. Barring repudiating the debt, where would he attack the budget?
That leaves one huge hunk open for paring down: war spending. But realize that shutting down our entire military, zeroing it out, wouldn’t completely close this deficit. To make substantial Defense Department cuts, we’d have to extricate ourselves from wars abroad or pull our troops out of Europe and Japan and Korea, etc. All things I think we can, should and must do.
Talk is cheap, and awfully vague. “A terrible idea”; “unfairly and unwisely” . . . as if our current budget mess wasn’t the result of a thousand terrible ideas . . . and unfair and unwise spending galore.
The Republicans’ proposed cuts are disappointing. The Democrats’ objections? Witless.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.