"Republicans’ Deficit-Cut Pledge Lacks Specifics"
Over on the op-ed page* Paul Krugman is a little more blunt:
"‘Pledge to America’ is at war with arithmetic"
Here are some of Krugman's specifics:
True, the document talks about the need to cut spending. But as far as I can see, there’s only one specific cut proposed — canceling the rest of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Republicans claim (implausibly) would save $16 billion. That’s less than half of 1 percent of the budget cost of those tax cuts. As for the rest, everything must be cut, in ways not specified — “except for common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops.” In other words, Social Security, Medicare and the defense budget are off-limits.
So what’s left? Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more National Institutes of Health. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”
* I could have linked this directly to the New York Times, but frankly they annoy me.
p.s. Keep an eye on TNR and Economist's View for reactions to the rest of David Leonhardt's article. When Chait, Krugman, DeLong and company get to Leonhardt's defense of Paul Ryan and Rand Paul, things are going to get bloody.
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