Patterico's Pontifications


How Difficult Is Submitting a Balanced Budget? This Difficult

Filed under: Budget,General — Patterico @ 6:22 pm

The delivery is flat. The presentation is amateurish. But, while I don’t agree with every sentence the guy speaks, his presentation of the numbers is right:

I have been talking about submitting a balanced budget. But most people are so unaware of what it would take to do so, they have no idea how “draconian” the cuts must be. Basically, you could eliminate the entire federal government and you’d almost get there.

Some people think we can address the deficit without addressing entitlements. This video shows why such people are fundamentally unserious.

Political Advice from an Amateur: Um, Republicans Might Want to Stop Saying They’re for a Government Shutdown

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:01 am

John Cornyn:

It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain.

Ted Cruz:

I think we have to be prepared to go so far as to shut the government down if we don’t get some serious policies to stop the out-of-control spending, to tackle the debt, and to get economic growth.”

Newt Gingrich:

I helped close the government twice. It actually worked. Bill Clinton came in and said “the era of big government is over” after two closures, not before.

Uh, fellas?

Can I make a small suggestion?

If you don’t want to be blamed for a government shutdown, don’t say you’re trying to achieve a government shutdown.

Please read again my fantasy speech given by a Republican with a backbone. (Obviously a hypothetical scenario. Just read the speech if you haven’t already.) The emphasis is on trying to work things out by compromise, while choosing a principle (a balanced budget) that will not be compromised.

President Obama and Minority Leader Pelosi are right to blame Congress for overspending. Even though they asked for all that overspending, we gave it to them. Well, we’re not going to do it any more.

I want to stress that we are open to negotiation on how we pass a balanced budget. If President Obama wants to make a counterproposal that balances the budget in a different way, we will listen. But what we won’t do is consider any counterproposal that spends more money than we are taking in.

Rhetorically, Republicans want to say that the last thing they want is a government shutdown. What they want — indeed, what they insist upon — is a balanced budget.

They will propose their own, understanding that it opens them up to the slings and arrows of “OH MY GOD BABIES AND OLD PEOPLE WILL DIE!!!” headlines from the media, and class warfare demagoguery from Obama, Reid, and Pelosi.

If the president doesn’t like it, he can propose a balanced budget of his own.

If he refuses to sign the House’s balanced budget, or provide one of his own, then HE is responsible for the government shutdown. The one Republicans tried to hard to avoid.

Stress that you will do anything — ANYTHING! — to avoid a government shutdown . . . anything, that is, except the unthinkable: to keep spending money we don’t have.

Surely the president doesn’t believe in spending money we don’t have. Surely!

But a government shutdown?

That’s the last thing we want.

It’s true. We want a balanced budget, not a politically damaging shutdown. So talk about what we really want.

They’re already going to blame us, guys. You really aren’t obligated to help them do it.

UPDATE: Thanks to Ramesh Ponnuru (whom my iPhone’s Siri calls Grommesch Honolulu) at National Review for the link, and thanks to Adam Baldwin and others on Twitter for linking this post. Please understand: I am not saying that we should keep the government doors open at all costs. i am saying we should not act as though we want to shut down the government — because, in point of fact, we don’t. We simply insist in fiscal responsibility, and if the other side won’t be responsible as well, then we can’t pass an irresponsible budget again. And that may mean a government shutdown — but if that happens, the blame should fall on those who refuse to pass a responsible budget.

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