Staffers assured me after yesterday’s press conference that alternative budgets are always presented this way — with details coming only at the last minute. But the document that’s currently available to the public here, while it contains a lot of very broad ideas that most of our readers would agree with, does not even give a ballpark idea of where the GOP budget would leave us. Would it leave us with deficits half as large as the president’s? Twice as large? Would they balance the budget?
Leader Boehner’s exchange with reporters went like this:
Reporter 1: What is your goal for deficit reduction? The president’s is to cut the deficit in half in five years. What’s your goal?
Boehner: To do better.
Reporter 1: How? How much?
Boehner: You’ll see next week…
Reporter 2: You criticized Democrats for throwing together a stimulus quickly where nobody knew what they were voting on. You’re saying that your budget will be unveiled on the same day that the House is expected to vote on it?
Boehner: No, I expect it will be out next week. They’re still working on all the details. But understand — the budget really is a one-page document. It’s just a bunch of numbers…
Well, after all of the buildup about the Republican budget, I would have liked to see a budget. Even a one-page budget. Frankly, Obama’s budget is so bad that I would just like the consolation of seeing someone in power present a realistic plan that doesn’t involve tripling the national debt in 10 years. But this…well, it’s a bottle full of air.
One cannot help but get the impression that Obama’s challenge to present an alternative caught the Republicans unprepared. It’s great that they’re going to present an alternative budget, but it’s a bit disappointing to be promised a budget and to get a general statement of policies instead.