This list of 100 programs the Republican Study Commission wants to cut to balance the budget is a political death sentence for the Republican party, since it cuts a number of popular and necessary programs.
To pick on just one, consider “Essential Air Service”, a subsidy that allows rural areas to have a couple of commuter flights in airports where airlines would otherwise pull out. When a town that’s 200 miles from the next nearest airport loses air service, saying “it saved $150 million” is not going to get the Republican who voted for this bill re-elected.
Even so, most of the named cuts are mice nuts compared to where they think they’ll get the real savings. For example, it only takes the removal of the $150 million subsidy to DC’s mass transit to shut the place down, but I have no doubt that once they cut that, the federal government will “save” $150 million in the very short term. I can’t say the same for cuts like:
- Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of. $15 billion total savings.
- Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees. $1 billion total savings.
- Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees. $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
These reek of ideological bullshit and fiscal stupidity. Yes, let’s dump as much federal property as possible in a depressed real-estate market – we’ll surely get $15 billion selling low. And I’d like to see the fine print on the other two.
But my nitpicking is obscuring the big picture. The real savings from the plan is from a rollback of discretionary federal spending to 2006 levels and a freeze through 2021. I’d love to see John Boehner sell ten years without pork-touting press releases to his caucus.