Three things immediately leap out at me regarding this first look at the GOP’s long-term budget proposal:
- As Hot Air put it, everything’s apparently on the table. Everything. 6.2 trillion cut in spending over the next ten years*; 4.4 trillion cut from the deficit. Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security reform. An implicit promise of an end to ethanol subsidies. Defense cuts. Ending the bailout mindset. Top tax rates reduced, coupled with wholesale simplification of the tax code. A reduction of spending to 20% of GDP. In other words, pretty much every third rail of American politics that exists.
The other two points are related, and they have to do with how likely it is that the Democrats will go along with this deal.
- Given that this represents probably a one-time-only and completely undeserved chance for the Democrats to escape the sole-responsibility-for-the-economic-meltdown trap that they have dug for themselves, a hypothetical President Hillary Clinton – heck, a hypothetical President John Kerry – would have been smart enough and experienced enough to accept this deal essentially as-is.
- The actual President Barack Obama is neither.
*Let’s get this out of the way, right now. The minimum time period for any sort of meaningful entitlement reform will be ten years, for a very simple reason: 55-65 year old people vote; and telling, say, a 59 year old that he now has only six years to rewrite his entire retirement strategy is roughly equivalent to telling a pilot on final approach that, oh, by the way, the runway is now on fire. The 59 year old will not be happy, in other words. True, neither will, say, a 51 year old, but he’ll have eight more years to work out something else.
Hey, I’m telling you what is. What should be is another issue, and it’s not getting a vote. Deal with it.