Exchequer

Romney, Day 1

Mitt Romney has some big plans for Day 1. But where are the spending cuts? TBD, apparently.

Mr. Romney has promised a 5 percent cut in non-defense discretionary spending, which is to say: approximately squat. Non-defense discretionary spending runs around 15-17 percent of the budget. A 5 percent cut in that amounts to very little in terms of the big Fiscal Armageddon picture. We could cut non-defense discretionary spending to $0.00 and we’d still be running a big deficit. Not good enough.

We cannot turn around the fiscal picture (and consequently our long-term economic prospects) without cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and defense. We do not have to cut them all in the same way or by the same amount, obviously, but to take any 20-percent slice of federal spending and declare it sacrosanct is the mark of fiscal unseriousness — and putting four such slices off limits (I’m including “other mandatory” and interest, which really is mandatory, as the fourth slice) is unseriousness times four.

Sure, that’s going to be hard to run on. But if there is such a thing as a Romney administration, there is still going to be a Congress. Maybe it will be a strongly Republican Congress. Maybe not. But it is not as though any of this gets easier after the election. I am increasingly of the opinion that if you won’t run on it you won’t do it.

Spending cuts on Day 1: Somebody put that on Mr. Romney’s Outlook calendar. 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Joys of Heterogeneity

The temporary shutdown of parts of the federal government is a good argument for the permanent shutdown of parts of the federal government. When one of his colleagues voiced frustration with the slow pace of conservative reform in the 1990s, Newt Gingrich replied, “Rome wasn’t burned in a day.” That’s ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Elite Convergence

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Even those otherwise occupied by their doorbell love), Like Jeffrey Epstein when the new Sears Junior Miss catalogue comes out, I ... Read More
World

Referenda Delenda Est

"In my country the people can do as they like, although it often happens that they don't like what they have done."      -- Winston Churchill, 1946 London During the Second World War, as U.S. power was eclipsing Britain's, Harold Macmillan, a future prime minister, reportedly said, "These Americans ... Read More