Why the Republican Budget Plan Is a Hairball

angry bullRepublican Budget Cuts Don’t Cut Much

The federal budget is $3.8 trillion.

The Republicans have just come up with their plan to cut the federal budget. They’ve found $32 billion of cuts.

Their fiery campaign rhetoric, fierce determination, righteous indignation, and bloviated anger have summoned forth a hairball.

What happened to John Boehner’s $100 billion budget-cutting commitment? What became of Paul Ryan’s big ideas? Where did all the roaring and raging on the right during the 2010 election go?

This is embarrassing.

I once had a dog who thought he was the fiercest thing in the county. He wasn’t the brightest dog in the world. I brought him to a friend’s farm where he spied a large bull far off in the corner of a large field. From that vantage point the bull didn’t look very big, so my dog took off after it — howling and yelling to the skies. But as he got closer to the bull, I could see him slowing way down, and his howling turned into a whine. And by the time he came within five feet of the bull he skidded to a stop and turned silent. When the bull looked in his direction, my dog put his tail between his legs and ran.

Robert ReichAs Republicans got closer to Social Security, Medicare, national defense, and homeland security, their bark grew quieter and their fierceness turned tail. They discovered the job of tackling the budget will be far bigger and tougher than it looked from the far end of the campaign trail. Americans don’t want big spending cuts. They want to cut what doesn’t work.

And now congressional Republicans have got to explain this to the Tea Partiers, who are still howling and yelling in the next field.

Robert Reich
Republished with permission from Robert Reich’s Blog


  1. George A. Crackuh says

    Only a few short weeks ago, right on these very pages, the clueless Mr. Reich was urging even more massive spending of money we don’t have – no matter how economically destructive and inflationary a course that might be. Yet now he’s whining that the Republicans aren’t boldly or quickly enough throwing his spending leviathan into reverse!?

    One would think that from Bob’s lofty perch in the halls of academe, he’d be in a position to notice all the repeated wreckage and destruction caused by statists like him, whose mission in life is to spend Other People’s Money, and then to control them with it. Until it all goes bust, which it always does.

    All for their own good, of course. Because he means well.

    Hey, Clueless Bob, if you really want the Republicans in Congress to do a better job of cutting spending, why don’t you help them, instead of yapping like the little dog in the field about how their initial efforts just aren’t good enough?

    Of course, we all know that Clueless Bob will do nothing of the sort. If this Congress does somehow manage to institute major spending cuts, all the while fending off the incessant and vicious attacks of the OPMers, his yapping will only treble in volume, with no end in sight.

    Good thing Clueless Bob has his fat government paycheck to rely on, and his plush government pension plan, and his gold-plated government healthcare too.

    He has no skin in the game, and he never has, so he feels free to dream his stupid utopian dreams. What does it matter to him if he recklessly destroys millions of lives, and bankrupts a mighty nation? After all, he “meant well”, didn’t he?

    That’s what the statists have always said, with a little dollop of remorse in their voices, whenever their wreckage and ruin surges so high even they can’t ignore it: “We meant well”.

  2. Elaine says

    To look at things a little closer, we had the shootings in Tucson, AZ and the Sheriff Dupnik, one of the Progressive Sheriffs in the area go ballistic on the blame game. And now we got this mess going on everywhere in Europe. The few things that are getting done are not to shabby and I think we all knew we would not make it to the 100B but we are trying. We sure could use some Democrats in the Senate to realize in 2012 they are gone if they keep trying to please Reid and Obama but you know it has to hit them in the face before they realize it. In fact there are not any real Democrats left only Progressives, Socialists, Communists, Fascists and Marxists. Usually those that call themselves Democrats are a combination of the above. But Reich you are the one that wanted us to all go on this European Style Health care that has death panels. I just wish you would move to Canada or somewhere they are still using that on people, I believe the British are trying to go with what we got if they can afford it.
    There are some other things like the 1099’s they had to take care of which would cost the small businesses more time and more money to have to do this extra job. It will be a slow process but not even you can get us upset about it. You are just another pain in the neck that has never known what he is talking about and I will be so glad if you move to the country that operates under socialism and you can be happy and we will be happy to get rid of you. I would like to know how much of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy that you remember. I believe they were the last of the real Democrats and they hated the Communist, the unions, and the mafia. Robert Kennedy brought Hoffa and all those people up before Congress and it makes me wonder what were all you doing back with these men tried to better America by not having all of this in the United States of America. They both get shot which was terrible and too many ways to look at who actually did it. I do not think it will ever be known for sure. But I do know this. Ted Kennedy backed Obama and I do not think either Jack or Bobby would have ever backed Obama because of his spread the wealth ideas. I feel Obama used Ted Kennedy, Caroline, Marie Shiver and even Oprah.

  3. Brian Knowles says

    Ok, lets just not raise the debt ceiling and let the chips fall where they may. That will sort out the priorities pretty quick, I reckon..

    I’m sooo tired of hearing that “something” needs to be done, except what needs to be done..


  4. Adam Eran says

    BK has been drinking the kool-aid. The discretionary, non-military portion of the U.S. Federal budget is 15% or less of the total. His suggested “savings” don’t amount to a rounding error.

    In California, the budget deficit is roughly 1% of the California economy. Even right-wing columnist Dan Walters does not believe taxing to receive it would make a significant difference in economic activity. (See http://www.laprogressive.com/economic-equality/california-budget-mess-backstory/ and http://www.laprogressive.com/economic-equality/california-budget-deficit-not-a-real-problem/)

    On the other hand, if we only spent three times what our nearest rival (China) does on the military, there would be federal budget surpluses as far as the eye can see, and maybe even some leftovers for revenue sharing with states.

    The Quakers have a petition campaign to reduce the Pentagon budget by 25% (so we’d spend 4.5 times what the Chinese do).

    You can sign the petition, and see the proposed cuts, here: http://action.fcnl.org/petitions/war_making_you_poor0710/

    Incidentally, Secretary of Defense Gates’ suggestion to remove $78 billion from the military budget would not cut spending, it would only slow its rate of growth.

    Strangely, the poor, the widows and orphans get the axe, but military and prisons, both bloated beyond belief don’t. Are Americans just mean?

  5. Brian Knowles says

    “As Republicans got closer to Social Security, Medicare, national defense, and homeland security, their bark grew quieter and their fierceness turned tail. They discovered the job of tackling the budget will be far bigger and tougher than it looked from the far end of the campaign trail. Americans don’t want big spending cuts. They want to cut what doesn’t work.”

    In California, when the Dims want more money, they declare a crises and threaten to close the beaches and libraries. With the feds, it’s Social Security and Medicare. You’d think there were no other options, but there are.

    For instance, the existence of the EPA is at odds with the 10th amendment of the Constitution. Shut it down, lay off the workers, sell the buildings it owns and the land they stand on, an return the saving to the treasury. That, plus the tremendous kick given to the energy economy, would by itself go a long way toward relieving the current financial mess.

    Minor saving could be found in de-funding the pensions of the 109th, 110th, and 111th Congress, who mis-managed us into this mess…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *