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Posted at 2:44 PM ET, 01/21/2011

Responsible plans vs. Republican Study Committee's plans

By Ruth Marcus

Discretionary spending, the part of the federal budget that is not on autopilot and is subject to annual appropriations, generally constitutes less than 40 percent of federal spending. Take out defense spending and that share drops to well under 20 percent. So if your goal is to slash government spending and your approach is to go after discretionary spending without touching the military, it will require punishing, drastic cuts to make any serious dent in the deficit.

Even then, it won't be enough.

That is the unavoidable lesson of the spending reductions proposed by the Republican Study Committee, the group of conservative Republicans who now account for more than 170 members of the 242-member House Republican caucus.

The logical way of looking at the federal budget and taking the urgent step of getting the debt to manageable levels is to think seriously about what government should look like and then determine how to generate enough revenue to fund those needs.

Then there is the Republican Study Committee way, which focuses arbitrarily on one relatively small slice of the federal budget and imposes an arbitrary limit on its size.

The RSC proposal would set discretionary spending at its level in fiscal year 2006, $409 billion, for the apparent reason that this was the last year the Republicans were in charge of Congress, and keep it there, through 2021.

This sounds appealingly feasible; after all, government wasn't exactly skeletal in 2006. But it's not. Taking inflation into account, this would mean an overall cut of more than 40 percent by 2021, according to calculations by James Horney of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Are the RSC members prepared to cut education spending by that much? Spending on veterans and homeland security? Food safety? Federal law enforcement?

I don't think so, which may explain why the proposal shies away from painful specifics. It imagines discretionary spending cuts that amount to $2.5 trillion over 10 years but details just a fraction of these: $330 billion. They include eliminating subsidies for Amtrak, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the U.S. Agency for International Development, community development block grants, and high-speed rail, to name a few of the bigger-ticket items.

To get a sense of how massive are the cuts that the RSC envisions, consider that the president's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility proposed slashing discretionary spending by $1.6 trillion -- compared to the RSC's $2.5 trillion -- and subjected defense spending to a proportionate share of the pain.

At the same time, the commission's plan -- because it included increases in revenue and tackled entitlement spending -- envisioned cumulative deficit reduction of $3.9 trillion. The RSC plan offers not a peep about entitlement spending -- and certainly nothing about new taxes. In other words, for all its flaws, the commission accomplished more deficit reduction in a smarter, more balanced way.

At a news conference Thursday, RSC members said this proposal was just a start -- that entitlement spending would have to be addressed and that defense would not necessarily be spared. But this proposal is more political posturing than responsible deficit reduction. When the members of the Republican Study Committee come up with a budget document that outlines exactly where the cuts will come -- and pledge to vote for those cuts -- it will be time to take them seriously.

By Ruth Marcus  | January 21, 2011; 2:44 PM ET
Categories:  Marcus  | Tags:  Ruth Marcus  
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Comments

Every area of government needs to be reviewed and reduced... it doesn't matter what percent it is. It All adds up.
While private sector sacrificed, taking 10% and 20% salary Reductions for the past 5 or more years, Government employees, federal, state and city workers continued to get salary Increases!
All government workers, including congress
need to start paying or paying more of their health insurance also.

Posted by: ohioan | January 21, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

ohian,

Where do you get your information? There have been massive lay-offs and salary cutbacks in virtually every state.

Ad-hominem attacks like this really don't persuade anyone. Show where you got that info.

Using your and Republicans logic then we should just cut, cut, cut. Thereby reducing consumer spending even further and causing more layoffs which cuts consumer spending even more.

Republican logic is an oxymoron.

Posted by: affable100 | January 21, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"The logical way of looking at the federal budget and taking the urgent step of getting the debt to manageable levels is to think seriously about what government should look like and then determine how to generate enough revenue to fund those needs" ... Yes, lets make government as big as we want and raise revenue to cover it. This is exactly what we are doing now, and it's not 'logical'. We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. We also have a 'demonizing of anyone who wants to cut spending' problem.

Posted by: look2jesus | January 21, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Insightful opinion piece that points out the absurdity of the RSC proposal.When the group actually lists the specific areas that they propose cutting,then it will be taken seriously.Until then,it's just another sop to their right wing base.

Posted by: johnbird1 | January 21, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"The logical way of looking at the federal budget and taking the urgent step of getting the debt to manageable levels is to think seriously about what government should look like and then determine how to generate enough revenue to fund those needs."

I believe you meant; "The Liberal way of looking that the federal budget…”

There is a false presumption that the Federal Government has an unlimited capacity to extract “revenue” from the private sector to fund “needs”. In every other organization (family, business etc…), we look at our means and then define the amount of good that those means can achieve.

While I want to have a personal jet at my disposal, I do not have the means that make that possible. Rather than borrowing from my yet to be born grandchildren to pay for my Jet, I make a more responsible decision, this is a luxury that I simply cannot afford. These are the same decisions made by everyone except the Federal Government.

40% of every dollar that the Government spends is borrowed. We need massive cuts just to stop accumulating debt. Reducing the debt will require further cuts or a larger economy from which “revenue” can be extracted. For all of the debate and rancor about the cost of Obama care at $1 Trillion over 10 years, it is but 1/3 of what we spend servicing our existing debt. That is, without our current debt, we could “afford” 3 Obama Cares. Surprisingly this did not make it into the debate when discussing the “need” for Obama Care.

Doug M.

Posted by: DWMacKay | January 21, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The fact that we outspend the rest of the world combined on military spending is insanity and corruption at it's worst . This is one big money laundering operation for the military Industrial complex and Wall Street profiteers , love these insane and useless invasions and occupations baby . $$$$$$ wooooo-hooooo ! Those of you paranoid dopes apparently never have heard of the words mutual destruction , the bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War Two were BB guns compared to the nukes we have ( and others have ) today and there are thousands of them ready to launch at a moments notice , from air , land and Sea . If any one launches a nuclear attack on us or on one of our allies it's game over for them and for us , mutual destruction . You are suckers and fools for the Republican party , for the control and dominate the world , paranoid , war mongering neocons , the military industry and the fat cat Wall Street investor , the profiteers .Insanity and corruption at it's finest . I would urge you to go to You tube and listen to Eisenhower's farewell speech if have never heard it , please do , he warned of the danger if the military industrial complex is not kept in check and of letting them gain too much influence and power over the politicians . No one listened apparently , what he tried to warn us about has happened . It's all about money and the profiteers , not about our security and defense . One big money laundering operation ( and job program ) , the biggest rip off in the world , a much bigger rip off than the invasion and occupation of Iraq , a rip off of we the people and our hard earned tax dollars .

Posted by: Koom | January 21, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

looktojeezus: We most certainly have a revenue problem in addition to a spending problem.The financial meltdown of 2008 severely slashed or tax revenue.

What we also have are huge corporations like Exxon who paid ZERO taxes last year. We have businesses making record revenues yet producing very few jobs in America.

Posted by: JRM2 | January 21, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

look2jesus wrote:
"We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. We also have a 'demonizing of anyone who wants to cut spending' problem."
______________________________

Half true. Virtually all economists, including conservative ones, tell us we have a spending AND a revenue problem. So I won't demonize you for advocating spending reductions (Sure! How about some defense spending cuts???), if you won't demonize me for advocating some strategic revenue increases (like, say, phasing out the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest).

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | January 21, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Who's the party of no now ?

Posted by: thevulcanator | January 21, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Okay Republicans, the AMERICAN PEOPLE do NOT want cuts in social programs. According to a new poll, 64% would rather raise taxes than cut entitlement programs. Only 24% say cut entitlement programs. Houston, er - Republicans, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM!!!! Once again the GOP can't seem to ever walk their talking points. They need talking points to get elected, they just can't walk them. They are in trouble AGAIN!

Posted by: Julescator | January 21, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Okay Republicans, the AMERICAN PEOPLE do NOT want cuts in social programs. According to a new poll, 64% would rather raise taxes than cut entitlement programs. Only 24% say cut entitlement programs. Houston, er - Republicans, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM!!!! Once again the GOP can't seem to ever walk their talking points. They need talking points to get elected, they just can't walk them. They are in trouble AGAIN!

Posted by: Julescator | January 21, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have never listened to that rino Eisenhower.

Since we are talking about cuts, eliminate socialistic federal health care for congressmen and senators and make them buy it on the market, just like everyone else.

Also eliminate the congress's socialistic federal pensions. Everyone else lost or is losing theirs, why should our congressmen and senators be any different, considering they got us in this fix to begin with.

Means testing: A congressman or senator that is also a multi-millionaire -should be required to forefit any federal pay. For all others, their pay should not be allowed to exceed the nation aggregate wage average.

Conservative or liberal, right or left, Republican or Democrat -until the above is proposed, all these proposed cuts are just so much BS.

Posted by: plaza04433 | January 21, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Apprently they haven't done ENOUGH.
Private sector workers - who already pay most if not all their health insurance-- Also pay for city and state government workers' health insurance.
Those city and state government workers getting "lifetime FREE health insurance and pension"... us Taxpayers are paying for it!!!!
Make city and state government workers, as well as federal workers PAY THEIR OWN HEALTH INSURANCE.
I don't want my taxes to be paying for other people's health insurance while I have to pay 100% of my own !!!
Most people aren't even aware this is happening. Check into it.

Posted by: ohioan | January 21, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Republican logic is an oxymoron" , well said affable100 , that is just the truth , a fact these days . Read their posts here for example , never any facts to back up what they are saying or thinking other than maybe quoting some absolute nonsense that they or some other right wingers "invented" , just mindlessly spouting off , displaying their ignorance . Not necessarily bad people , not necessarily stupid people , but so filled with the lies , with fear , hate and anger due to the Republican / Fox / Limbaugh propaganda that they cannot see past their noses , so thoroughly brainwashed that they are unable to actually think and use any kind of logic or reason . Trust no one but Fox and Limbaugh ! Talk about being suckers ,of being victims and being brainwashed ! They truly are , it is sad , it is no joke ! Joesph Goebbels would be proud of the Republican party , Fox and Limbaugh and the rest , they learned well from him , they sure did .

Posted by: Koom | January 21, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

It is sad to see, yet again, a liberal columnist expressing the view that we are trapped by virtue of entitlement spending. The defeatism of the left is truly grating. Indeed, these creatures exist in a sad world in which no problem can be solved. In their tired "Von Munchausen" world, we must simply cope, survive, and allow the all-wise liberal to identify our needs (lest we be selfish) redistribute our property according to her view of our needs. How pleasant for humanity. The entire human existence-experience is now going to consist of having no hopes, no dreams, no chance of a better life, no personal growth, and for goodness sake, never getting one-inch ahead of the other guy. Yep, we are now all socialist cattle. We have the "right" to be born, to be assigned our hovel, to eat our rationed food, to get government medication as long as we are of use to the state, and then we die. On weekends we can listen to lectures on our greed.
I am sick of this.
The Constitution does not provide for entitlements, and I cannot continue to accept the LIE that we must sit back and allow Social Security, Medicare , Obamacare and other "entitlements" to steadily expand until they consume the entire economy.
I was annoyed by the column, but then I saw the blogs by various readers whining over welfare and screaming about defense spending (Hey, morons, how much welfare will you get once the USA no longer exists?) . Thomas Jefferson, later cited by Karl Marx, observed that the average democracy, historically, lasts only about 250 years, and always dies when the brainless herd figures out that it can vote itself money out of the government treasury.
I agree with those who say that we must put EVERYTHING on the table, whether discretionary or entitlement spending, and rethink just what the role of government is and what the role of the individual is.

Posted by: MARKM2 | January 21, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

40% of every dollar that the Government spends is borrowed. We need massive cuts just to stop accumulating debt. Reducing the debt will require further cuts or a larger economy from which “revenue” can be extracted. For all of the debate and rancor about the cost of Obama care at $1 Trillion over 10 years, it is but 1/3 of what we spend servicing our existing debt. That is, without our current debt, we could “afford” 3 Obama Cares. Surprisingly this did not make it into the debate when discussing the “need” for Obama Care.

Doug M.

Posted by: DWMacKay | January 21, 2011 3:52 PM

===================
I decided to post that again, Doug, since truth tends to get deleted from the blogs here.

Posted by: Darr247 | January 21, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that the vituperative KOOM, ranting about "Limbaugh/Fox et al" while ignoring the bias of NBC, CBS,ABC. OLBER-SLOBBER, Matthews, etal, is now parroting the Goebbels-tripe spewed for his benefit by Rep. Cohen. While KOOM continues the quest for actual thought, I would remind KOOM that GOEBBELS was a liberal ("National Socialist") and that the NAZI PARTEI was the "National Socialist Workers Party". While the NAZI's were overt racists (unlike American libs who are covert racists), the NAZI party believed in socialism , including massive public works, government health care, government regulation of the economy, goverment regulation of the press and speech. The NAZIS would NOT like the GOP, but, as has been pointed out, the NAZIs were closely in line with the Democrat Party, and their 13-point program" read like the DNC platform.. (Joe Kennedy even called Hitler the "Socialist hope for a modern Europe.")

Posted by: MARKM2 | January 21, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

One problem with this hold-the-line thinking is that the country's population is not. If we take a flat 2006 budget and try to spread it over a rising population until 2021, per capita spending will fall to draconian levels and, as usual, the ones hurt will be the least able to bear it.

Posted by: trytounderstand | January 21, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I am far from an expert in Military or financial matters. Uneducated is the best moniker.

I find it interesting that the Keynesian effect of deficit spending is an important necessity as it applies to liberal initiatives and entitlements. However, we seem to disregard the effect when applied to military spending. I have never quite understood the disdain the left holds for our military. If we believe in the Keynesian effect, would we not be better served to simply double military spending? If the Keynesian effect holds true as promised by the current administration and invested in by the Stimulus Plan, this would increase our GDP significantly and resulting revenues to the Government. It would also have a far greater likelihood that the spending would remain within our own borders.

Doug M.

Posted by: DWMacKay | January 21, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"The logical way of looking at the federal budget and taking the urgent step of getting the debt to manageable levels is to think seriously about what government should look like and then determine how to generate enough revenue to fund those needs."

Why are some people banging on this statement. It simply says decide what you want government to do and then come up with a way to pay for it. It doesn't say big or small, it doesn't say liberal or conservative. It just says figure what you want and how you are going to pay for it. Simple logic.

Quite unlike the "logic" behind unfunded wars or unfunded prescription drug benefits.

Posted by: rcasero | January 21, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"I would remind KOOM that GOEBBELS was a liberal" MarkM2

I think that based on this statement anything and every that comes from MarkM2 can be ignored.

Posted by: rcasero | January 21, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Regarding your last comment MARKM2, you had me convinced you are some sort of intellectual conservative with "rethink just what the role of government is and what the role of the individual is" until your last comment where you seem to seek out signs of intelligence that are coming from a person with lesser "powers" than yourself, and use them to implicitly berate that person while promoting your platform. That was very traditionally GOP.

Posted by: freequincy | January 21, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@JRM2: "We most certainly have a revenue problem in addition to a spending problem.The financial meltdown of 2008 severely slashed or tax revenue."

Bzzt. Wrong.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

The drop in revenue 2008 to 2009 was only about $400 billion. The President's massive new spending programs have exploded the budget to almost TEN TIMES that much. The "stimulus" program alone was almost twice that.

Liberal mantra: Reality is fine as a concept, but it doesn't work in practice.

Posted by: ReadTheShrill | January 21, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Later in the speech Ike said:

"Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

* and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite."

That part is NEVER mentioned

Posted by: right3 | January 21, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

@Doug M. Why would you think that families and businesses are appropriate analogs to the federal government with respect to spending and revenue? They are not. The three categories have virtually nothing in common with respect to their respective purposes or the broader economic impact of their spending.

It is simply a non sequitur to suggest the federal government should follow the example of families and businesses by belt-tightening in response to an economic downturn. It is a simplistic and misplaced analogy that leads to misplaced priorities.

Posted by: PaulSweeting | January 21, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

These Republicans live in lala land.

You mean to tell me that they aren't willing to cut a dime from the military, which spends more than the next 16 countries COMBINED do on their militaries, but they want to gut agencies like the EPA and CPSC whose policies and enforcement has easily saved more lives than were lost in WWII, and whose budgets are a tiny fraction of that of the military, just so their corporate fat cat buddies can pay even less taxes, profit from the spoiling and poisoning of America, and buy a fourth vacation home? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what these Republicans are really about, and its not about fiscal responsibility.

Were Republicans fiscally responsible, they would begin with the largest areas of government waste. Spending a dime more than what Russia, China, France, Germany, and Japan spend COMBINED on their militaries (321 Billion per year vs. our 663 Billion) is a complete and total waste of money, a waste of hundreds of billions A YEAR. The fact that these Repubicans turn a blind eye to such waste while targeting programs less connected with big business reveals their true colors. They can't cut that wasteful military spending because it would take money out of the pockets of their rich cronies. Schoolteachers and water inspectors are much easier targets to fleece. For Republicans, "fiscal responsibility" is just a smoke screen for lining the pockets of their rich cronies and nothing more. There is no "responsible" to it.

Republicans want to cut 2.5 Trillion from the budget over the next 10 years? Cut military spending from 663 Billion per year and growing, to what Russia, China, France, Germany and Japan spend COMBINED per year ... 321 Billion, and we can save 3.4 TRILLION over the next 10 years, still outspend China, Russia, France, Germany and Japan combined on military spending, and still have plenty of money left to promote the general welfare of our country through agencies like the EPA, Department of Education, and Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Posted by: hesingswithfrogs | January 21, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

DWMacKay ...

Keynesian economics works well and good if you follow it. The problem is that Bush made it impossible to follow Keynesian economics. Under Keynesian economics, during time aplenty, you reduce spending and increase taxes. This gives a rainy day fund so you can increase spending and cut taxes when times are tough. When Bush inherited the surplus, he made it impossible to follow Keynesian economics because when times were aplenty, he cut taxes, and spent all the money in wars. He should have done the opposite. When times turned bad (due to Republican deregulation), there was no rainy day fund for increased spending or for tax cuts, hence the awful position Obama was put in when he inherited an economy that needed rescue, but there was no money to stimulate or room for tax cuts other than debt.

Posted by: hesingswithfrogs | January 21, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

The Republican legislators ought to read Plato's Republic. There they would learn the rudiments of law making - that the welfare of the people is paramount. Placing the wealth of the elite over the health of their workers is counter productive. The mystery is why any one other than a member of the elite votes Republican when it is against his or her self interest to do so. Is it naivety or stupidity?

Posted by: outridercastle | January 21, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The most waste is in the pentagon and defense spending and that is where most of the cuts should come from. I'm referring to all the over spending on defense contracts that are not being followed properly. Halliburton, blackwater (xe), kbr, etc. the majority of these contracts need reconfiguration. If so much lobbying dollars were not tied up into these companies I doubt congress would keep voting on the waste involved.

Posted by: kml | January 21, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful, the Republicans think they can create jobs by reducing the money supply from where the multiplier is largest, They want to take money from the most likely to spend it and transfer it to those least likely! This will generate no jobs. The already wealthy won't invest in labor without demand, they will put it in overseas markets, or gamble it in the wall street derivatives casino, after all that's what it now is. How then do you generate demand when people have no money? Why would any businessman employ anyone without demand for his product or service? What kind of Alice in wonderland logic do they believe? Have any of these people ever even taken a simple Intro to econ 101 course? They need to face the reality that supply side economics is nonsense, it has never generated jobs. Wake up! Reaganomics doesn't work, and it never has! Not even for Ron! Trickle down is trickle dead.

Posted by: USblues2 | January 21, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Good article. Actually tried to include some facts.

The bottom line:

If they have their way, the Republican Party will soon be offering "free showers" to retirees.

Posted by: rryder1 | January 21, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful, the Republicans think they can create jobs by reducing the money supply from where the multiplier is largest, They want to take money from the most likely to spend it and transfer it to those least likely! This will generate no jobs. The already wealthy won't invest in labor without demand, they will put it in overseas markets, or gamble it in the wall street derivatives casino, after all that's what it now is. How then do you generate demand when people have no money? Why would any businessman employ anyone without demand for his product or service? What kind of Alice in wonderland logic do they believe? Have any of these people ever even taken a simple Intro to econ 101 course? They need to face the reality that supply side economics is nonsense, it has never generated jobs. Wake up! Reaganomics doesn't work, and it never has! Not even for Ron! Trickle down is trickle dead.

Posted by: USblues2 | January 21, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The problem with nearly everyone posting here, but especially Republicans, IMO, is that people simply do not know what "spending" means--so they define it in whatever way they choose (and dodge it when it doesn't suit them). Police officers, firemen, road construction workers, teachers--all are paid through government "spending". But what happens when those roles are pointed out? Republicans ALWAYS shift attention to teacher unions. Not firemen. Not police. Teacher Unions. And so the fact that we MUST HAVE sufficient numbers of ALL of those groups--and so much fund their salaries (and pay them enough to attract good people)--never gets discussed.

Instead, Republican politicians continue their artful distractions, cutting relatively itsy-bitsy programs that sound either elitist (PBS, the arts, etc.) or help the poor (who don't deserve help because they are just lazy people).

What the administration needs to do is to drag out the bulletin board and post charts upon charts upon charts that clearly indicate what programs get what percent of discretionary spending--so that even someone in total denial (e.g. a Republican or Tea Partier) can see how (or, to be fair, "whether") what the Republicans propose will make a real dent in the deficit (and NOT be just matters of revenge against liberals or pandering to the ignorant anger of their base).

Posted by: pasc1 | January 21, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

CONSERVATIVE COMPASSION - BUSH STYLE

Those who have riches and the power that money buys (conservatives) depend upon the have-nots to do their work, pay their taxes, make their products, provide their services, fight their wars, etc.. The have-nots are just another part of their capital inventory. When the have-nots can no longer do their jobs they are treated as though they were disposal trash. Valuable equipment is re-cycled.

Posted by: outridercastle | January 21, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

The money that the republican offcials are getting from big corporations tells me they are selling the taxpayers down the river.

Posted by: leobrignac | January 21, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

PaulSweeting

As tortured as the analogy may have been certainly the basic principles of living within your means were not lost on you. It remains unclear why the basic concept of spending only what you can afford seems lost as it applies to government, in particular to entitlement spending. We seem ready to assume that some larger, more complex fiscal forces are at work when we need to justify expenditures that suit our ideological stripes. But you can only get so much sugar from a 5 pound bag. I believe that this simple concept has been genuinely lost on all but a few in Government.

Our federal debt service is the 3rd largest line item in our budget and larger than the all but the worlds 4 largest Governments in their totality. The explanation is no more complex than we have simply spent more money than we have generated notwithstanding the well meaning intentions of those who have justified the expenditures. No different than a family drowning in credit card debt in my simplistic view.

I do not disagree that our military spending is needlessly excessive. However I lack patience for those who willfully denigrate spending only for which they are ideologically opposed. Our fiscal problems transcend political boundaries and pose a great threat to our way American of life. Failure to address these issues continues to imperil or future and have most certainly doomed that of our grandchildren.

Hesingswithfrogs
Your explanation makes complete sense. Thank you for the elaboration. While I do not necessarily hold George W Bush singularly responsible, I do not abdicate him of his portion of responsibility either.

Doug M

Posted by: DWMacKay | January 21, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

We're back to the politics and priorities and funny math of pre-2009. Only the lobotomized ones should be surprised by this.

Posted by: turbovega | January 21, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Responsible plans vs. Republican Study Committee's plans
------------------------
The title should really be....

Irresponsible Plans vs. Republican "We aren't going far enough" Plans.

Because hey, you'd have to be pretty dumb to think that we can go on eternally running a 1.4 trillion dollar deficit. But, I'm sure you will give us all sorts of stories about how people will starve if the Republicans get their way.

Posted by: martel732 | January 21, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Read your own words, lady: "Responsible plans vs. Republican Study Committee's plans." How is this not entirely partisan and negative? So much for the President's call for bipartisanship and helpful dialogue. You are beyond contempt.

Posted by: azumaguy | January 21, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

We're back to the politics and priorities and funny math of pre-2009. Only the lobotomized ones should be surprised by this.
============================================
Yeah, because the funny math post 2009 in which we can keep running a 1.4 trillion dollar deficits makes sooooooooo much sense to anyone without a lobotomy. You'd have to be an economic illiterate to think that post-2009 we have been running a sane economy. Obama has been digging the hole deeper.

Obama's now famous quote about being in the ditch and the Republicans who got us there were standing up top sipping on a slurpee should actually have been, "We're down in a ditch and the Republicans are up top sipping a slurpee laughing inside at the fact that not only are we in a ditch, but the Democrats and I are purposely digging the ditch deeper!"

Posted by: martel732 | January 21, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Along with a mechanism allowing Cities or entire States to void absurd pension and benefit package agreements for public employees, this person states my sentiments exactly:

Make city and state government workers, as well as federal workers PAY THEIR OWN HEALTH INSURANCE.
I don't want my taxes to be paying for other people's health insurance while I have to pay 100% of my own !!!
Most people aren't even aware this is happening. Check into it.

Posted by: ohioan | January 21, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: azumaguy | January 21, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Why don't we just dissolve the government, give everyone guns and run our country like Somalia?

Seriously though, hopefully these folks will learn that you can't run a country through soundbites. The starting point is deciding what the federal government should and should not do.

And yes, the work that the government does does not come for free. If these guys are so serious about cutting spending, why don't they start with their salaries and lifetime benefits. Then they can ban lobbying and all subsidies, including those that support domestic oil & gas production and farming. Let's have a truly level playing field and prevent big business from requesting legislation that supports their businesses. There's nothing 'free market' about begging the government to support your industry.

The problem is always in the details when you use catchy soundbites to get elected. Now those soundbites have to produce results.

Posted by: truthbeknown | January 21, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Wherever you start cutting, there will be someone coming out to say it is not fair and it is not serious. At least GOP is taking steps to start cutting while the Dem has been doing the tax and spend and to fund their social re-engineering (Tell me that is not true!). It is no use to ask the politicians to cut spending. Most of the money is being spent on people, us, with all kinds of programs and nobody wants their entitlement cut. And then there is the money spent on the illegal aliens while the "legal" citizens go hungry. And tons of money spent to save a few sea birds and animals. If we are talking about the very survival of the country, we need to rethink our priorities. There is simply not enough bread on the table. Defense is a juicy target, but it is not something you can just cut anytime you want. Reduce waste and root out the overspending and the corruptions goes a long way. There is no magic way of cutting. What the president and the politicians can do is to provide leadership and stop the partisan bickering and grid lock. When they do that, no one is going to buy in and get serious. The cut has to start from the people. Pay off all your debt, to start with and get your house in order. Then you are able to say it loudly that you are not a burden of the society. We need more people and more household in the black than in the red. Unfortunately the opposite is true today. And as long as that is true, those in red will resist any meaningful cut and demand government handouts or assistance and the deficit will continue.

Posted by: indi2 | January 21, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

The money that the republican offcials are getting from big corporations tells me they are selling the taxpayers down the river.

Posted by: leobrignac | January 21, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse

To get a better idea of proposed cuts check out:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/100-programs-republican-study-committee-wants-abolish-or-cut_536787.html

Looks pretty responsible to this taxpayer and this is just the beginning.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 22, 2011 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey Martel732, if the Repubs were reaaaally serious about deficit reduction, they would be try to pull us back from being the world's policeman and cutting our huge military infrastructure and cutting back on social security and medicare, which are huge components of federal spending. Not a peep out of them about that, since that would be political suicide for them. I looked at the website in the link you sent. Not only is it chump change savings for the program cuts listed, but it is the usual political stalking horses for the right-wing. Those are politically targeted cuts, like PBS, with shows like 'Front Line' .. that sometimes run shows that point out politically inconvenient facts for the neocons and of course for the National Endowmment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.

Posted by: turbovega | January 22, 2011 8:00 AM | Report abuse

The Administration's plan is "wealth redistribution"...the precursor to "Greek Tragedy".

Posted by: DQuixote1 | January 22, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted at 2:44 PM ET, 01/21/2011
Responsible plans vs. Republican Study Committee's plans
By Ruth Marcus

"...Even then, it won't be enough...The logical way of looking at the federal budget...Then there is the Republican Study Committee way...according to calculations by James Horney...not a peep about entitlement spending..."

Oh yeah Ruth, you and Horney are the geniuses without portfolio, you should be The Spendnot\Wantnot-in-Chief and Horney could be your Treas. Sec.

You all are just full of ideas and criticism now you've self-condesceded, pandered, and sycofanted US into the Progressively Progressive Brink with these skunks in tuxedos, empty skirts, unfortunately transparent speedos, who all just punched another hole in our tin cup, tossed a 2% lump of coal into OUR Chris'mas stocking, along with several thousand pages of promises of more, and more of the same for the next two years.

We need Tax Amnesty not more Budget Nastiness, Bickering, recriminatory foot dragging without end, about who's too wealthy, who's not wealthy enough.

...and Ms. Marcus every job in the Federal Government is to some extent or other an entitlement...

Posted by: RichNomore | January 22, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Republicans planning on cutting Deficit by $50 Billion

DEFICIT: FY2009 $1,413 Billion; FY2010 $1,294 Billion

IS THIIS A JOKE, OR WHAT?

Posted by: Warof2010 | January 22, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

It's all just posturing for their Right Wing base. The committee, if they are sane, something which is not fully clear, realize that their proposed budgets cats are unrealistic. It is also true, as someone noted here, that they want to sell the public down to river in order to pay off their debt to their corporate owners.

Posted by: samsara15 | January 23, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Posted at 2:44 PM ET, 01/21/2011
Responsible plans vs. Republican Study Committee's plans
By Ruth Marcus

No Ruth this is Marcus vs. Responsible Journalism.

Posted by: RichNomore | January 23, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

ohian,

Where do you get your information? There have been massive lay-offs and salary cutbacks in virtually every state.

Ad-hominem attacks like this really don't persuade anyone. Show where you got that info.

Using your and Republicans logic then we should just cut, cut, cut. Thereby reducing consumer spending even further and causing more layoffs which cuts consumer spending even more.

Republican logic is an oxymoron.
-------------------------------------------

First of all I like the fact that you criticize the previous poster for using an ad hominem attack and then end your post with one.

Second. Cutting government spending will logically increase consumer spending. Currently, the government takes money from consumers (via taxes) and then reallocates that spending towards projects that the market won't support. So, people are forced to pay for things they do not want which actively destroys wealth. Government spending makes small areas of the economy better off at the expense of making the economy as a whole worse off.

What the Dems are suggesting is the same policies that kept the US economy depressed from 1929 to 1946.

Posted by: BradG | January 24, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Ohioan, DWMcKay, and all the rest who demonize any Democratic/Liberal initiative no matter the source or need.

You demands for unconditional spending cuts would have greater resonance if you used some of ire on the Bush-era tax cuts. If we are having a financial crisis, then renewing these tax cuts is as irresponsible as any of the "excess" spending you decry. No ire, no railing against tax cuts?... No, I didn't think so.

Posted by: chuck2 | January 25, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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