"We will put government on a path to a balanced budget and pay down the debt with a plan to … Cut government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels saving at least $100 billion in the first year alone."
— A Pledge to America
I was roundly attacked for calling the Republicans' "Pledge to Nowhere" a lot of pablum.
Guess what? I was right. The Republicans wasted a bunch of ink and paper to put up a paper tiger of a sham and, channelling Jeremiah Wright, their chickens are coming home to roost.
The Republicans are championing cutting federal spending by $74 billion. There's just one problem — they promised $100 billion in the first year. They did not, at the time, pro-rate it, but now they are.
There is a further problem too. The Republicans are cutting $74 billion from fiction.
What I mean is the GOP is claiming they are cutting $74 billion from what Barack Obama wanted in 2011. There's just one problem — the Democrats left power without ever passing Barack Obama's budget. In other words, the GOP is cutting $74 billion from a budget that does not even exist.
In reality, they are cutting $35 billion from the continuing resolution that continues to fund the federal government. That's all. Just $35 billion.
To be charitable though, had the Democrats actually passed their spending goals — goals President Obama still wants — the cuts the GOP outlined would in fact be $74 billion.
I applaud the work. I applaud the effort. But they promised $100 billion.
They also promised to roll the clock back to 2008's non-defense spending levels. That number is $378 billion. Paul Ryan's number is $420 billion. In other words, that is cutting $58 billion of non-defense spending and tacked on $16 billion in defense cuts to meet the goal.
I thought Paul Ryan was a budget genius. Are you really telling me he couldn't get $100 billion cut? Hell, he promised to.
And there's one final problem: Republican staffers and congressmen in leadership are going to be mad at me for writing any of this and pointing this out. But, dare I point it out one more time, they are the ones who made the promise. Silly us for expecting them to uphold the promises. And no, there was no talk of proration in the Pledge to Nowhere.
UPDATE: I'm being nuanced to death on this. Points out one staffer:
The impression you create with your post below is that we are not cutting $100 billion over 12 months (most people’s definition of “year”). What you fail to point out that $58 billion is being cut over 7 months. Of course ($100 / 12) X 7 = $58. Why are you leaving that part out?
I guess they just built expectations too high. I mean, I was presuming they way they were talking back when they unveiled the crap pledge that they were talking about the first budget year. This may be the first time in the history of America that congresscritters are talking calendar years and not budget years, which at the time everyone seemed to think. See for example:
Note that even members of Congress assumed the leaders meant "budget year" not "calendar year".