I got at this a bit in today's Wonkbook, but it's important to remember that the debate in the House right now is not over how much to cut from the 2012 budget, but how much to cut from the resolution funding the government's operations between March of 2011 and September of 2011. That's seven months, not a full year. So when you hear people throwing around numbers, it's useful to annualize them -- to think of them in terms of what they'd mean for a normal, full-year budget.
So a $35 billion cut -- which is what House leadership favors -- is, in terms of service reductions, similar to a $60 billion cut, and a $100 billion cut -- which is what the Republican Study Committee wants -- is more like a $170 billion cut. And remember, all this money is coming from non-security discretionary spending -- a small fraction of the government that includes things like education and infrastructure, but excludes things like Medicare and Social Security and the military.
These cuts, in other words, are deep. And the conflict between the House leadership and the RSC could play out any number of ways. If the Democrats are lucky (or good), they'll be able to tar all Republicans with the extreme cuts being proposed by the RSC, and thus the whole party will look like axe-happy Gingrichites. But if they're not lucky (or good), the RSC's demands will serve to make the House leadership's proposal look like a reasonable middle ground, even though it's a deep and unwise cut into a lot of programs that we need right now.
Posted by: jduptonma | February 10, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: visionbrkr | February 10, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse