A group of conservative House Republicans has unveiled a proposal to drastically slash federal spending over the next decade, with cuts aimed at almost all areas of government except entitlements and the military. The Republican Study Committee's plan would take funding away from public housing, arts, humanities, international aid, environmental and energy programs — cutting $100 billion this year, and $2.5 trillion in total by 2021. The American people are "ready for the tough-love solutions," said committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) at the event's launch. "It doesn't fix everything but it's a good first step." Is it really? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about proposed spending cuts)
The GOP is making good on its promises: This plan is "a meaningful step in the right direction," says Samuel R. Staley at the National Review. Even if the cuts aren't that big — just $250 billion a year out of a budget that runs in the trillions — the proposals will "serve a valuable purpose" as a "menu of waste" from which we can choose what to eliminate. Such bold ideas show how "conservative fiscal principles" can help us clean up our budget mess.
"These spending-cut proposals are meaningful"
The plan, though well-intentioned, has some flaws: It's "troublesome" that the plan doesn't even "touch" entitlements or military spending, our two biggest expenses, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. As long as they remain sacred cows, we can't find a true "solution to all our problems." Still, this plan is an overdue "first shot across the bow in the budget wars." Whether the GOP can get it passed is another question entirely.
"House Republicans propose $2.5 trillion in spending cuts over ten years"
These plans will cut American jobs, too: The chances of this passing are "non-existent," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. And that's a good thing, as the proposals would be "devastating for American jobs." Thousands of civilian workers in transportation and infrastructure would be fired, and states would be forced to make "sweeping job cuts." This plan doesn't just "ignore the problem," it would "deliberately make it worse."
"Republican Study Committee lays down a radical 'marker' on spending"
Republicans aren't being realistic: "Simple arithmetic" shows this plan wouldn't work, says Steve Bell, visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, in Frum Forum. To save $100 billion this year, you would have to "really cut about 50 percent" of the budget for the rest of 2011 — that means "furloughs of hundreds of thousands of government workers," the closing of "most government-funded operations" and an end to all research grants. Try explaining that to voters.
"How serious are the GOP budget cuts?"