NYT screams for adults while acting like a child
Reading the first paragraph in an NYT editorial gave me a rather cynical chuckle this morning.
Are there any adults in charge of the House? Watching this week’s frenzied slash-and-burn budget contest, we had to conclude the answer to that is no.
Really – is that the answer? Or is the answer there haven’t been any adults in charge for years – decades even – as evidenced by the horrendous fiscal mess we’re in today.
The NYT’s answer? Apparently the status quo is alright with the Grey Lady. Check this out:
First Speaker John Boehner’s Republican leadership proposed cutting the rest of the 2011 budget by $32 billion. But that wasn’t enough for his fanatical freshmen, who demanded that it be cut by $61 billion, destroying vital government programs with gleeful abandon.
Here we go … speaking of acting like adults, it would be nice if the NYT would try it. As Rand Paul pointed out, $32 billion is about 5 days of government spending. $61 then would be about 10. And the $81 billion they’re now talking about – tack on 4 more days. The NYT wants you to seriously believe that eliminating that pittance would destroy “vital government programs”? We’re talking a multi-trillion dollar budget here guys. Until we’re talking trillions in cuts, we’re not talking about serious cuts.
In fact, what the NYT is worried about is cuts to some programs it considers to be vital but apparently others don’t.
If the Republicans got their way, it would wreak havoc on Americans’ lives and national security. This blood sport also has nothing to do with the programs that are driving up the long-term deficit: Medicare, Medicaid and, to a lesser extent, Social Security.
Well here’s the bad news for the NYT – to get the budget back on a sustainable track, it is going to require a little “havoc” within the budget and certainly a dramatic lessening of spending.
Obviously I agree that the programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security have to be addressed. But that doesn’t exempt the other areas where spending may be less in terms of those programs but just as wasteful, unnecessary or unneeded. You aren’t going to address the problems of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in a Continuing Resolution – that’s a ‘red herring’. The fact that the big 3 haven’t been addressed yet doesn’t mean they won’t be nor does it mean discretionary spending shouldn’t be.
So, if the mean old Republicans end up cutting $81 billion out of the 7 month Continuing Resolution to fund government (since the Democratic Congress didn’t do its primary job and pass a budget) what will that mean?
Several credible economists have said that an $81 billion cut could result in up to 800,000 layoffs throughout the American economy.
The House freshmen seemed even less concerned about the effect of their budget slashing. “A lot of us freshmen don’t have a whole lot of knowledge about how Washington, D.C., is operated,” Representative Kristi Noem, a Republican of South Dakota, told the Conservative Political Action Conference last week. “And, frankly, we don’t really care.”
Frankly, he shouldn’t. My guess is government will trundle along without a hiccup if the worst case (and you know that’s what is going to be presented here) scenario of 800,000 layoffs materializes. It won’t, of course. We all know how this works – if in fact the cuts were to cause layoffs, most would come through attrition and early retirement packages vs. being “let go”.
No, this is the usual “if they do that, the baby ducks will die” rhetoric in which any cut is countered with the worst imaginable scenario whether feasible or not. Government’s job is not providing employment. It is doing the people’s business and protecting the nation. And it should do that in as lean a posture as possible. That’s what an adult would say.
Of course Obama has bowed up and claimed he will veto any such “job killing” measure. If I were the GOP I’d be saying “go ahead, make my day”, because it then becomes a matter of explaining that the GOP attempted to cut spending and the size of government, but Big Government Obama, who depends on the votes of public service unions to win reelection, opted for them over the will of the people.