The Corner

Harry Reid’s $1 Trillion Gimmick

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D., Nev.) deficit reduction proposal, unveiled today, calls for $2.7 trillion in spending cuts over ten years. But as John McCormack at The Weekly Standard points out, Reid isn’t exactly sure how much of that will be cut from next year’s budget, which is significant because reductions to next year’s budget are the most likely to actually be enforced. For sake of comparison, the House-passed “Cut, Cap and Balance” legislation would trim $111 billion from next year’s budget.

Either way, Reid achieves nearly 40 percent ($1 trillion) of his “savings” through sheer gimmicky. His plan assumes, implausibly, that surge-level spending in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue unrestrained over the next decade, even though such funding will never be spent and has not even been requested. Another $400 billion in interest savings is counted.

Not to worry, Democrats are saying. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget uses the same “war savings” gimmick. Only that’s just true. Ryan’s budget cuts federal spending by $6.2 trillion over ten years relatives to President Obama’s FY 2012 budget request, and assumes no savings whatsoever relative to that baseline.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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