Will the GOP Deliver on Spending Cuts?


The Republican Study Committee is talking about cutting $2.5 trillion in spending over the next decade. Good for them, even if the cuts are overstated and unlikely to be implemented any time soon. From the Wash Post:

A band of conservative House Republicans said Thursday that Congress should slash more than $2.5 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade, primarily by cutting non-defense appropriations back to 2006 levels and firing 15 percent of the federal workforce….

Unveiling its spending proposal, the Republican Study Committee also urged House leaders to make good on their campaign promises to immediately slash agency budgets back to 2008 levels. The RSC also wants Congress to cut $80 billion from an upcoming temporary resolution that would keep the government running through September. The government is currently functioning under a temporary resolution that expires in March.

Congressional budget analysts said the many of the savings estimates in the RSC list were overstated. For example, the RSC estimates that the government could save $45 billion by cutting off unspent funds from the 2009 economic stimulus package. A more accurate figure, analysts said, is probably closer to $4 billion.

More here. GOP House leaders are pushing for $55 billion in cuts during the rest of fiscal year 2011, which ends in September.

US News has more specifics on the RSC proposed cuts here, including a list of programs to be trimmed.

This is all well and good, but as long as GOP reps refuse to put entitlements and defense spending on the table, they're hunting rabbits rather than buffaloes. There simply isn't that much money in the budget to non-defense discretionary spending. Here's a graphic worth glomming onto. It's from a forthcoming article by me and Veronique de Rugy:

If you want to get serious about cutting spending, you can't be talking about going back to 2008 levels, a favorite GOP ploy since it focuses attention on the Obama years. Yet as readers of this site well know, the ramp up started with George W. Bush and the GOP Congress. 

Here's a plan that will balance the budget by 2020 without raising taxes by working to pull expenditures down from 25 percent of GDP to 19 percent of GDP. [Update: Link above fixed]

And here I am on Fox Business' Varney & Co. yesterday, arguing that we really need to hold the GOP accountable to the promises they made during the midterm elections: