The Budget Deal

Let me just say that I am extremely underwhelmed by budget deal currently being touted by the GOP establishment. Putting aside the Planned Parenthood issue for a moment, let’s just trace the course of this “deal.” The GOP ran on a platform that promised $100 billion in cuts this year. That promise was swiftly down-graded to a promise to cut $61 billion. Now, just last night, we’re told that the final cut will be $38.5 billion. All the while, Harry Reid and the Democrats praise the deal as historic. That, of course, should set off some warning bells right there. When have the Democrats ever praised a spending cut? They’re happy because the GOP has effectively broken its “pledge” with the American people to take spending seriously.

And it’s not like a $100 billion cut from a federal budget that exceeds $3 trillion was all that big to begin with. Congress has been effectively arguing over pennies for the last few days, and now we’re supposed to congratulate them for cutting 1/3 of the pennies they originally promised to cut? But you can also take a longer view of this. Paul Ryan just proposed a what will likely be a highly controversial budget plan that makes some serious cuts and adjustments to many of the long-term fiscal problems that plague this country. Given the GOP’s rather unimpressive performance on what’s effectively a rounding error in the Ryan plan, I’m not getting my hopes up about this. Ryan’s plan proposes to cut approximately $6.2 trillion over the next ten years. But if the Republicans can’t even hold the line on $100 billion, how can we expect them to hold the line on $6.2 trillion? Rather than being a victory for Boehner and the House Republicans, I think this episode shows that when they’re pushed hard enough, the Republicans cave.

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