Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Unh., you see, unh....all that about Republican spending cuts was unhhh...sorta hypothetical

And so it begins....Here's The New York Holy Times:

WASHINGTON — Many people knowledgeable about the federal budget said House Republicans could not keep their campaign promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending in a single year. Now it appears that Republicans agree.

As they prepare to take power on Wednesday, Republican leaders are scaling back that number by as much as half, aides say, because the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, will be nearly half over before spending cuts could become law.

While House Republicans were never expected to succeed in enacting cuts of that scale, given opposition in the Senate from the Democratic majority and some Republicans, and from President Obama, a House vote would put potentially vulnerable Republican lawmakers on record supporting deep reductions of up to 30 percent in education, research, law enforcement, transportation and more.

Now aides say that the $100 billion figure was hypothetical, and that the objective is to get annual spending for programs other than those for the military, veterans and domestic security back to the levels of 2008, before Democrats approved stimulus spending to end the recession.

The picture of Republican campaign promises came from here. 

1 comment:

Nick Rowe said...

I agree they overpromised, but the shortened timeline for the federal budget is a legitimate excuse for falling short.

For example, suppose we wanted an across-the-board cut in all government programs of a certain percent, and it would save $100 billion dollars in a fiscal year.

If the House is unable to take up the legislation, pass it, get it approved and reconciled with the Senate, and signed by the president for three months, then they are going to fall short of their annual goal by 25%, even though they did everything they said they were going to do.

A legitimate counter-argument is that they should have figured this policy and effect lag into their projections. But to do so would be seen as hedging. Not doing so is seen as lowering the bar.

It's a lose-lose situation. No politician can ever guarantee a political outcome. The political process generally reduces benefits and increases costs.

It's fitting to view such pledges as cheap talk. Judge them afterward on their concerted efforts, not niggling about numbers that are altered through political compromise.

Indeed, Republicans made a lot of promises in the Contract with America that they knew from Day One would never be enacted, and then reneged on promises such as term-limiting themselves. But they achieved quite a number of their promises in that contract. Unfortunately, subsequent Republican congresses spend taxpayer money like a drunken Kennedy. Many of them were guilty of atrocious scandals.