Government Spending

Obama, Boehner Should Play Mini-Golf to Haggle Over Mini-Cuts to Budget


So we're in a budget squeeze, right? And something's gotta give, right?

Don't bet on it. Here's top Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) talking about one of the single-biggest items in the federal budget, Medicare:

"What we're about is policy," the California Democrat told ABC News. "What we want is to change the view that the Republicans have that it is OK to abolish Medicare [and] to make seniors pay more for less while we give tax breaks to big oil. That's not a formula that I think works for the middle class."

Cuts to seniors' Medicare benefits are "absolutely" off the table in the current legislative-White House deficit-reduction talks, Pelosi said.

And here's what the Republican-led Congress is up to regarding defense spending for 2012 (assuming the U.S. every passes another budget again), another mega-item in the budget:

The House Appropriations Committee bill would provide $119 billion for the two wars, $841 million more than President Barack Obama sought….The bill would provide $530 billion in overall spending for the budget year beginning Oct. 1, an increase of $17 billion over the current year but $9 billion less than Obama has requested. It provides the money for a 1.6 percent pay raise for military personnel…

So increases there. And to get a better sense of where the supposedly skinflint GOP has its head, consider the committee's attempt to resurrect two engines for the same plane:

The Pentagon plans to buy engines for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter solely from Pratt & Whitney of Hartford, Connecticut. The department recently notified General Electric and Rolls Royce, which are working on the alternative in Ohio and Indiana, that it had terminated the contract. The companies said they would continue work on the alternative engine using their own money.

The crux of their argument is that forcing Pratt & Whitney to compete against them would produce more efficient, less expensive engines for the nearly 2,500 F-35 fighters the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps plan to buy and fly over the next 40 years. Eliminating the GE-Rolls Royce team gives Pratt & Whitney a "$100 billion monopoly" on the engines, according to the two companies.

The House defense blueprint tries to revive the extra engine, including a provision that would force the Pentagon to reopen competition if the department has to ask Congress for more money so Pratt & Whitney can build the chosen engine. The House appropriations committee provided no money for it, however.

So the Dems are digging in against the "gutting" of Medicare (which the GOP has also pledged to support anyway) and the GOP is hellbent on spending more money on defense (though not as much as the amount requested by the Democratic president). Let us be clear: Under Paul Ryan's budget plan, defense spending would come in at $838 billion in 2021. Under Obama's plan the figure would be $1.039 trillion. Overall spending 10 years out would be $4.7 trillion under Ryan and $5.7 trillion under Obama.

Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) is the GOP point man on cutting a deal to trade real "cuts" for boosting the debt limit. Earlier this year, just as he was taking office, Boehner couldn't name a single program he wanted to cut. He's voted for all the wars that had votes, is in favor of that duplicate jet engine (hey it's built in Ohio!), voted for Medicare prescription drugs, No Child Left Behind, TARP…

And now he and the president (who wants to increase spending $2 trillion over the next decade; see above) are going to play golf.

Spending reductions? Don't count on them. Unless voters make it clear that when they say they want a government that lives within its means, they actually know mean what it says.

NEXT: ObamaCare and the Regulatory Feedback Loop

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Spending cuts are a political impossibility because any cut will affect someone.

    Can’t cut Medicare because that’s taking away grandma’s health care.

    Can’t cut defense because that’s taking away American jobs.

    Can’t cut anything without taking something away from someone, so nothing will be cut.

    1. Where the fuck are the anti-government militias when you need them?

      1. Somalia

      2. What are they gonna do? Burn down the clinics that treat old people? The P&W plant? That’s the great thing about passing money straight on to private payees.

        1. The White House and the US Capitol, along with the Supreme Court

        2. They could blow up the Treasury or the Fed. That would slow things down a bit.

          Note to any SS agents: This is merely speculation on my part. I am not advocating this behavior, though I probably wouldn’t mind it that much.

          1. Or the UN* building.

            *This comment does not advocate for, condone, or encourage any illegal activity.

  2. I trust the press will voluntarily censor any pics of Obama smoking at the “golf summit”. Otherwise it would be like showing FDR in leg braces.

    1. They already censored his girlie toss before the All Star Game, why not?

  3. I don’t see how making the Defense Department compete the engine contract or at least spread it around is a bad thing. Don’t you know how corrupt those bastards are? I gaurentee you Pratt and Whitney didn’t get that contract legitimately. No one ever gets a DOD contract without buying off the right generals and congressman.

    1. Most government contracts are supposed to be competed. But their rules are ridiculous. I’ve taken several classes that deal with government contracts. Even though they claim to be weeding out corruption, it is still ridiculously riddled with rules and regulations. Yes, I want to get rid of corruption, but I think JWOD needs to go as well as a lot of other Acts that basically drive costs up.

    2. Congressmen get campaign contributions and generals get executive positions in the company.

      Check out the chief officers on any major defense contractor. You will find many retired generals and admirals making huge salaries on top of their pensions.

      It’s a racket.

      1. Any officer O5 and above or any enlisted E9, should be banned from working for any government contractor or holding a GS government job after their retirement. It is a total racket. We pay them a nice retirement, they don’t need to be out influence peddling for more.

  4. The last serious Republican “budget hawk” was probably Robert Taft in the 1950s. Reagan was a New Deal Democrat originally and never really changed his underlying ideals.

    1. I should amend that to read “the last Republican ‘budget hawk’ with any real power” was Robert Taft. Obviously, there have been plenty of back-bencher GOP congressmen like Ron Paul who would love to cut the federal government down to size. Which is probably they don’t become front-benchers.

  5. Maybe they’re on to something. Billion dollars a hole.

  6. OT — Guys, E3

    if u care !!!!

  7. “What we want is to change the view that the Republicans have that it is OK to abolish Medicare [and] to make seniors pay more for less while we give tax breaks to big oil. That’s not a formula that I think works for the middle class.”

    Well… I found something the government is efficient at doing: hitting childish talking points.

    1. some of our commentators are doing their work – free of charge!

  8. This is like the reverse of the Dr. Evil error. Billions turn to millions.

  9. $5.7 trillion? Seriously? That would be double the 2008 outlays. Jesus H., how can people be this fucking oblivious to the absolute unsustainability of that nonsense? I imagine people just really don’t pay attention the actual numbers at all. They just see National Dad Obama talking about how he’s going to take care of everything.

    1. Unless we think GDP is going to double by then as well. I have my doubts.

      1. Oh, you think there’s absolutely no chance of runaway inflation? We could get to that in nominal dollars that way.

  10. Well, they didn’t tip their caddies, so that saved a few bucks.

  11. The first lady is much less painful to the eyes from that angle.

  12. Boehner and Weiner should get together. It would make for great headlines.

  13. GE isn’t just in Ohio, its’ main design and R&D and maintence facilities for Aircraft Engines are within 10 miles of his district.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.