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de Toqueville Isn't Impressed With Slavery [ArthurK] | Main | Quick Update on The Adjustment Bureau's Deceptive Advertising Campaign
March 05, 2011

Republicans' Spin On Budget Cuts Winds Up Granting Obama and Reid Their Own Spin

Here's how. The Republicans proposed $61 billion in real, going-forward, genuine cuts.

They tried to claim it was $100 billion, in total. How? Well, the Continuing Resolution they passed in the lame duck represented a $40 billion decrease in Obama's proposed budget.

Note that is really not a fair way to measure a cut, as that budget was merely proposed; it was never passed. No budget was passed. Thus this "$40 billion in savings from 2011" represents a "cut" from hypothetical, proposed-but-never passed levels.

That's like selling a sweater which sells for $80, saying that you intended to raise the price to $100, but now you're slashing prices by 20%, all the way down to... $80. That represents a "cut" not in any actual price that ever existed but only from the purported elevated levels you were planning.

So of the GOP's "$100 billion in cuts," $61 billion are in real cuts from current levels of spending, and the other $40 billion is merely money saved by not enacting a spending-level-raising budget previously.

That's not an entirely false way to calculate things. It is, however, misleading.

Now that the GOP has misled on this point, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid follow them in the same gimmicky accounting method and have a talking point.

The Democrats claim they have agreed to meet the Republicans almost exactly half-way on spending cuts. The Democrats claim they are proposing $50.5 billion in cuts -- fifty billion! Just about half of $101 billion! So the Democrats' talking point is that they are willing to compromise -- split the difference right down the middle -- and if those big meanie Republicans reject that compromise then they're, well, Big Meanie Compromise-Rejecters.

Here's how the Democratic math works: They propose a paltry $6.5 billion in real, actual cuts from current spending. But ah-- here's the cute part. Add into that the $40 billion already "saved" by not having a budget in 2011 (the same $40 billion the Republicans are selling to the base) and then add in the $4 billion saved in the last Continuing Resolution, and what do you get? $6.5 billion + $4 billion + $40 billion equals precisely $50.5 billion, precisely half the $101 billion the Republicans propose, in total.

Fair! Compromise! Meeting them halfway!

Of course the Democrats are not meeting them anywhere close to halfway. The Republicans propose $57 billion in actual cuts from current spending (ignoring the $4 billion in cuts from the two-week Continuing Resolution, which is already baked in the cake, a done deal), and the Democrats propose, in fair compromise, $6.5 billion in cuts.

That's meeting the Republicans just slightly higher than 10% of the way there.

But this spin talking point comes to you from Obama thanks to the GOP leadership and the tax-parasites on the appropriations committee that leadership installed there.

You can't blame Obama and Reid and Pelosi for padding their cuts with a phantom, fake $40 billion extra. Republicans did it first.

Nice work, guys. So now you have to prove that Democrats are lying with this accounting method and all you have to do to prove that is admit you were lying too when you first utilized this manner of accounting.

Stupid, dishonest dicks. I mean the GOP. I didn't see this coming; I'm not that smart. But what I did see coming is that whatever cuts the GOP proposed, the Democrats would propose some kind of false "compromise" that they'd sell as more "moderate." The GOP's drive to hoodwink its base has now cost miles of crucial bargaining position. We've conceded miles and miles of ground to the enemy and I don't see any good way to regain this territory.

Which will end up causing there to be even less in actual cuts than this smallball bumper-sticker-bait of $61 billion represented.

Which, I keep suspecting, is what a lot of the GOP wants in the first place: They want to be on record as supporting cuts to keep Tea Partiers voting for them; but they don't want there to be to much in actual cuts, to keep from having to defend tough votes in public.

Doesn't that work out marvelously for everyone in the political class. Everyone gets what they want, Democrats get spending, Republicans get a talking point. Everyone wins, except the taxpaying citizen buying into this sham.

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:27 PM

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