Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What the debt ceiling fight won't fix...

The debt ceiling fight has been long and exhausting, but it will have a big payoff. After it's finally resolved — with the Boehner plan or the Reid plan or something else — we will have confronted our budget crisis, made tough choices and forced the federal government to live within its means.

That's right. And I'm Katy Perry.

We have heard a lot lately about plans to slash spending by trillions of dollars. Though these sound like deep cuts, they are not even shallow cuts. Under the plans being discussed in Washington, federal spending would rise, and so would the federal debt — not by a little, but by a lot.

Consider Speaker John Boehner's blueprint, which envisions savings of some $3 trillion over 10 years. The biggest chunk of savings comes from a cap on discretionary outlays, letting them grow as fast as inflation — meaning they would gobble up more dollars every year.

In real terms, they would remain just as high as they are now. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's version likewise allows federal departments to spend more each year to offset the effects of inflation.

All these "cuts" are modest reductions in the growth of outlays envisioned in President Barack Obama's budget, which would boost annual spending by 57 percent over the next decade. Everyone is talking about cutting the overall budget, without actually doing it.

Our leaders are not even saying exactly which programs will be trimmed. Neither party wants to reveal which constituents will lose their spots at the federal trough.

The publicized changes are mere promises to reduce projected spending — by some formula that we don't know, because it has yet to be determined. For that matter, there is no guarantee the cuts will ever happen. (more)