James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

The stark difference between Reid’s defense cuts and Ryan’s

July 26, 2011

Here’s the big problem House Republicans have with Sen. Harry Reid’s budget plan: Some $1 trillion of its $2.7 trillion in savings over the next decade — or 37 percent — come from factoring in an expected troop drawdown over the next few years from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is something everyone expects — other than the Congressional Budget Office baseline fiscal forecast. It assumes no drawdown, and it is against CBO’s unlikely scenario that Reid compares his plan.

So, Republicans say, the real savings are just $1.3 trillion, excluding $400 billion in interest payment reductions. That is far less than the $2.4 trillion hike in the debt limit Reid is asking for. And recall that Republicans want spending cuts to at least equal the increase in the debt limit. So Reid is still short, from the House GOP perspective, anywhere from $700 billion (if you accept the interest savings) to $1.1 trillion.

But Democrats charge hypocrisy, noting the recent House Republican budget from Rep. Paul Ryan also assumes a troop drawdown. So GOPers should quit playing politics and embrace the Reid plan.  But what Democrats aren’t saying is that even with that assumption, the House-Ryan budget plan cuts spending by $6.2 trillion vs. President Obama’s 2012 budget since the Obama plan also assumes savings from a drawdown.

So zero percent of Ryan’s $6.2 trillion in spending savings vs. the Obama budget comes from the drawdown. And even against the CBO baseline (which assumes perpetual war with no drawdown), just 17 percent of the House-Ryan budget comes from the drawdown. It still has $4.8 trillion in actual cuts.  This chart from the House budget committee helps explain things. The key spending line is “Global War on Terror”:

 

Comments

Huh?

This is becoming increasingly silly. Arrays of numbers, like those above, are meaningless. Do you want to deal or not? Get on with it!

Posted by Elektrobahn | Report as abusive
 

Really Electrobahn? When working on a budget you think “numbers… are meaningless”? Well fine, lets go with a feel for what we think we maybe want… some vague promises, some pretty slogans, no idea what will actually happen, and some promises they’ll break immediately.

You know, the Obama plan as presented… No details to be found.

But if you prefer a budget without any numbers, send me all your money and I’ll give you a numbers free “budget” for your personal finances. Don’t worry about the numbers, they’re complicated… I’ll tell you what you can affords and how to live.

Won;’t that be nice? Or do you think numbers are handy when it’s your money?

Weird how no liberal I’ve found is willing to personally live under the budgetary rules he thinks the country should work with… why is that?

Do you want to deal with Obama, who we’ve already had a deal with before he decided to break it and demand another 400 billion in taxes and 800 billion in increased pending? Or should we force a deal with Reid, who thinks we’re saving over a trillion dollars by not continuing to fund projects that are already finished and have no budget in any projection?

Hey, I can save us a quadrillion dollars… first we’ll “plan” for a quadrillion dollar ladder to the sun; then we’ll cancel that funding… 1,000 trillion dollars saved.

You impressed, want to give me everything I want as my part of the deal for giving you 1,000 trillion in savings? Or do you think maybe dealing with me isn’t all that useful given that I’m clearly just making up gimmicks and fudging the numbers?

I realize you’re bored, but that’s no reason to waste a trillion dollars needlessly… unless YOU personally are paying for it.

Posted by ertdfg | Report as abusive
 

I appreciate your response and PLEASE, don’t misinterpret me. I am NO fan of Mr. Obama, not at all. My objection is numbers going out ten years in the future and treated as though they are real and unassailable. I also disbelieve this whole global warming thing because it relies too much on predictions of the distant future. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can predict the future with even remote accuracy. Certainly not politicians, so these numbers showing surpluses or deficits well into the future, and with three-digit accuracy no less are, in my huimble opinion, worthless.

Posted by Elektrobahn | Report as abusive
 

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