The Corner

Trimming the Fat

House Republicans have outlined a plan to save $375 billion over the next five years, most of which would come from a cap on non-defense discretionary spending:

Of course, the easiest way to save taxpayer money is to not spend it in the first place. Unfortunately, Washington uses budgets and baselines that assume that whatever we spend today we will spend that much and more next year. For example in the President’s budget submission, non-defense discretionary grows from $486 billion this year to $522 billion next year and $608 billion in five years.


While many Republicans favor an immediate cut or freeze in non-defense discretionary spending, given the current deficit, both parties ought to be able to agree at a minimum to impose discretionary spending limits that provide that non-defense discretionary spending will grow at a level not exceeding inflation. Such a limit would produce considerable savings compared to the Administration’s budget. In fact, such a change would save $317 billion over the next five years compared to the budget submitted by the Administration. 

Considering the size of our looming Social Security and Medicare shortfalls, it’s like the Republicans are proposing to use a bucket to empty an ocean, but it’s still an improvement on the administration’s plan to use an eyedropper.


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