"We've saved the American taxpayer about 17 hours of spending. That's it. When you just really stop and think about it, we've made very little progress."
That's a quotation from freshman Republican Congressman Reid Ribble from Wisconsin in a article, "So much drama, so little debt reduction," on the front page of the Washington Post today.
As the Post contextualizes Ribble's comment:
Nearly a year ago, Ribble and other newly elected House Republicans came to Capitol Hill on a single-minded mission to shove the federal debt to the top of the congressional agenda. They succeeded. At every opportunity, they demanded cuts in spending, forcing a series of white-knuckle showdowns that have kept the government in a state of perpetual crisis. Washington nudged close to a public conversation about the kind of government taxpayers want and what they are willing to pay for it.
Last week, however, Ribble went home for the holidays with little to show for all the political drama. The debt stood at $15.1 trillion, $1 trillion more than when he got to town. By the end of next year, projections show, it will grow by an additional $1 trillion. Ribble said he and his allies had cut spending for 2012 by only about $7 billion, a sliver so tiny Ribble could measure its impact in minutes.
In other news, President Obama will be officially asking to raise the debt ceiling by another $1.2 trillion. The Post assures readers that once the President makes this request it will be drama-free because:
Congress then will have 15 days to say no. But because the House is out of session until Jan. 17 and the Senate is gone until Jan. 23, it is probable that the debt ceiling will be increased without a whimper.
A duplicitous example bipartisan debt planning?
To read Reason articles dealiing with all things debtish, go here.