No more sacred cows, Congress: Put everything on the budget-cuts table(Read article summary)
Republicans, it's time to put defense spending on the table. Democrats, take down the walls around Social Security and Medicare.
Scott Baldauf / The Christian Science Monitor / File
Even defense spending, even tax expenditures. I did this opening segment of Tuesdayâ€™s PBS Newshour broadcast, with my 12-year-old son Johnny watching me in the makeup room and from the â€śgreen roomâ€ťâ€“which made it all the more special. One of my standard favorite lines I didnâ€™t get to squeeze in about the politiciansâ€™ take on fiscal responsibility and reducing the deficit: â€śIt seems like a good ideaâ€¦until you get right down to itâ€ťâ€“i.e., itâ€™s always easier in abstract theory than in specific practice.
As both Jim Horney (of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities) and I emphasize in the interview, everything should be on the budget-cuts table, and in fact, many in Congress like to use that line. But then you listen more carefully and you find Republicans taking revenue increases and defense/national security cuts off the table, and Democrats taking most other types of spending off the table (whether for short-term or longer-term reasons), and you soon realize that whatâ€™s really left on the â€śbipartisan deficit-reduction tableâ€ťâ€“at least within the current Congressâ€“is really close to nothing. And thatâ€™s a huge problem: the contrast between what non-politician budget experts from both the left and the right agree on, and what Congress canâ€™t agree on.
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