March 21st, 2012
Ezra Klein lays it out flat and explains why they are all so mercenary:
"The Republican Party has settled on four overlapping fiscal commitments that leave them with few other choices.
The Republican plans we've seen share a few basic premises. First, taxes are too high, and must be cut. Second, defense spending is too low, and should be raised. Third, major changes to entitlement programs should be passed now, but they shouldn't affect the current generation of retirees. That would all be fine, except for the fourth premise, which is that short-term deficits are a serious threat to the country and they need to be swiftly cut.
The first three budget premises means that taxes and defense will contribute more to the deficit, and Medicare and Social Security aren't available for quick savings. That leaves programs for the poor as the only major programs available to bear cuts. But now cuts to those programs have to pay for the deficit reduction, the increased defense spending, and the tax cuts. That means the cuts to those programs have to be really, really, really deep. The authors have no other choice."
That's it, in a nutshell.
"Taxes are too high" in spite of being at a 60 year low.
"Defense spending is too low" in spite of being at its highest level since World War II and consuming nearly 54 cents of every weapons dollar spent globally per year.
Gutting Medicare and Social Security won't provide rapid savings so the poorest Americans will just have to pay for pretty much everything.
Lastly, the deficit has to be slashed immediately by implementing all of the above... which will guarantee higher deficits.
That we are in a position where we have to address these proposals with any seriousness whatsoever boggles.