Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Boehner saved the day with a last minute agreement that will allow the Government to continue to run. Half way into the 2011 budget, the deal was struck cutting $38 billion. Compromise has led to heros in politics.
Now if we wake up from the daydream the reality is a bit sobering.
Of course Democrats and President Obama will make the case that the deal is a victory for them. House Republicans have blinked in the last minute and compromised on the promise they made to voters during the 2010 mid-term elections. A mere $38 billion, sure to be quoted as $78 billion, is the price of votes – needed to shore up dismal 2012 election projections.
Consider that the initial $40 billion in savings came directly from Republicans efforts, with Continuing Resolutions to fund the government, cutting billions week after week. Democrats opposed every cut, and swallowed the cuts with grimaces. Only when the public outcry to the paltry and realistically non-existent spending cut proposals went against Democrats did they offer anything.
The President for his part did nothing. He postured a bit, made a few speeches and gathered the Congressional leaders for a meeting or 3. But he equally abandonded the situation, travelling to begin his re-election campaign and prop up his Black vote support.
On the Republican side things are hardly any better. Republicans will also claim the full $78 billion in spending cuts. Their claim is more credible, but still off the mark from their promise. Even if the promise were kept, the sum not being spent still equates to less than 1% of the national budget ($3.4 trillion) and the national deficit ($1.6 trillion for 2011 alone, $14 trillion as of 2010).
If either side, or the President, were at all serious about Government spending there are real choices that could have been made without any real argument.
In total, the above spending cuts would eliminate $1.06 trillion. That’s just cutting a failure, following the law as written, and assuming the Goverment can do a pinch of the cost cutting that the public has done for more than 4 years.
Given these examples, and more can easily be made without debate, does a mere $78 billion in spending cuts even compare? Does the impact on the deficit, or even just the interest on the deficit alter with the agreement made between Democrats in the Senate and Republicans in the House, as well as President Obama are currently trumpeting?
The Government will not shut down. With that the deficit will not decrease, and America is no closer to solvency nor avert the potential of bankruptcy. As much as the news will be used to garner votes and decry opponents as vile politicians out only to support their special interests, has anything been done to be worth of a vote or praise?
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