Friday, February 11, 2011

It's not that hard

With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to prestimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone

That's what the Republicans promised when they were elected. The $100 billion is the effect of their promise, not the promise itself. The promise is a good one (except maybe that seniors, veterans, and defense are common-sense exceptions). Before the failed spend-a-palooza "stimulus" we had a budget that was too high. Allowing that to become the new baseline and whining about how the government is going to shut down if we don't keep the unprecedented, temporary, emergency levels of spending we went to in a vain attempt to recover the economy is one of the biggest crimes of the last congress. So going back to pre-stimulus, pre-TARP 2008 spending levels should be the starting place for any conversation about spending. I think we should go much, much further, but I'm not willing to even talk about it until we get the trillion dollar barrel of pork injected into the baseline in 2010 out of the discussion.

So, when Hal Rogers talks about cutting $100 billion from Obama's massively inflated FY2011 budget proposal, he's dissembling. The incoming Republicans didn't promise to take whatever Obama proposes and cut $100 billion (and certainly not less than $100 billion), they promised a return to 2008 spending levels. And to hear even Paul Ryan, who I like (unlike Hal Rogers, who is a first class appropriator), talk around the issue makes me mad. Here's how you keep the promise the Republicans made:
  1. Ask the Congressional Records Office for a copy of the 2008 budget
  2. (optional) Submit that to the floor with a rule that any amendment offered must not increase the size of the budget.
  3. Send it to the Senate
Was that really that hard?

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