The Corner

The Debt Mountain Labored and Brought Forth a Mouse

With respect, Rich, your correspondent needs to get out of the House more. The $7 billion that he calls “a real, enforceable cut for FY2012″ represents what the government of the United States currently borrows every 37 hours.

If the CBO’s scoring is correct — that it reduces the 2012 deficit by just $1 billion — then the ”cut” represents what the United States borrows every five hours and 20 minutes. In other words, in the time it takes to photocopy and distribute Boehner’s “plan,” the savings have all been borrowed back.

As for the rest, I’m philosophically opposed to “entitlements” because they strike at one of the most basic principles of representative government — that a parliament cannot bind its successor. But the same objection applies to jelly-spined legislators announcing grand plans for bazillions of savings years after their term of office has expired. Who knows what’ll be happening in 2017? Maybe North Korea will accidentally nuke the South Sandwich Islands and we’ll be expected to chip in for reconstruction.

That leaves now. And, in terms of spending now now now, the entire political class has made itself a global laughingstock. A month of shuttling back and forth between the Capitol and the White House for “a real, enforceable cut” of $1-7 billion? Boehner might as well have gone to the Turks & Caicos for July and worked on his tan.

Downgrade’s a-comin’.  

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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