Deal Reached, Shutdown Avoided
[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
At the 11th hour, a deal was reached. From the AP (so get yer screen caps ready, just in case…):
Perilously close to a government shutdown, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached a historic agreement late Friday night to cut about $38 billion in federal spending and avert the first federal closure in 15 years.
Obama hailed the deal as “the biggest annual spending cut in history.”
Yeah, Obama, it’s really easy to have the biggest spending cut in history when you had astronomical spending in the years before. Let’s go to the chart, shall we?
Yeah, a historically massive cut doesn’t look so impressive in context, does it?
They go on:
House Speaker John Boehner said that over the next decade it would cut government spending by $500 billion, and won an ovation from his rank and file tea party adherents among them.
“This is historic, what we’ve done,” agreed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the third man involved in negotiations that ratified a new era of divided government.
They announced the agreement less than an hour before government funding was due to run out.
So there you go, but I want to back up and repeat a line in that story:
won an ovation from his rank and file tea party adherents among them.
Well, this rank-and-file tea partier is not celebrating tonight. We haven’t reduced the debt by a single penny; we have only reduced the rate of increase of our debt. Let’s let Sarah Palin put this into a little perspective:
Let’s look at the numbers. We have a $1.5 trillion deficit this year. We’re paying $200 billion a year on our interest alone. That’s half a billion dollars per day on interest. And our $1.5 trillion deficit means that we’re borrowing $4 billion per day just to keep afloat. So, we pat ourselves on the back if we cut a billion dollars here or a billion there in discretionary spending, as we borrow $4 billion a day and pay half a billion a day in interest. The deficit for the month of February alone was the highest in our history at $223 billion. That’s more than the entire deficit for the year 2007. And there’s no end in sight. We’re not heading towards the iceberg. We’ve already hit it. Now we’re taking on water. We must find a way to get back to harbor to repair our ship of state before it’s too late.
I checked those numbers and although they are rounded off, they are basically right and bluntly you should read the whole thing. It’s very well put. So $38 billion in “cuts” isn’t terribly impressive when interest alone adds around $200 billion to the deficit every year. To use my own metaphor, we are in a car headed toward a cliff. We need to stop and turn around. And today they have agreed to reduce how much pressure we are putting on the gas pedal but not to apply the brakes or change the direction. I guess it will buy us a little time, so its better than doing nothing.
But it’s not much better than nothing and we should not let any of these idiots in Washington declare victory.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I’m OK with it as long as they go to the mat for Ryan’s budget.