WASHINGTON -- The Democrats keep asking the Republicans to say where they would cut federal spending to shrink a massive $1.3 trillion deficit if they win control of Congress on Nov. 2.
That of course begs this question: What are the Democrats doing to bring down a line of trillion-dollar budget deficits as far as the eye can see? After all, they're the ones who rang up all of this spending.
The answer is nothing. The ruling party, which has been on a wild spending spree for the past two years, left a pile of appropriations bills behind, failed to approve a budget, and put the government on a continuing resolution that is the fiscal equivalent of putting the feds on automatic pilot.
The only reason Democrats are pestering Republicans to show their budget-cutting hand now is to give them some political targets to shoot down in a midterm election they know they're going to lose.
The GOP is wise not to play that game. House Republicans have thrown down their budget-cutting gauntlet, declaring their intention to sharply roll back non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels if they are put in charge.
Budget analysts say that means cutting more than $100 billion from federal departments, agencies and programs that will require "a level of reductions that history suggests would be extremely hard to execute," according to a front page story in The New York Times.
The Times offers a largely one-sided, liberal view of the spending catastrophe that confronts Congress, suggesting there are relatively few places to cut without doing irrevocable harm to our country.
The truth is that in a $3.5-trillion-a-year budget, there are plenty of places that not only cry out for cuts, but also for the wholesale elimination of entire programs, which would shrink the monstrous deficits that now threaten America's future economic vitality and strength.
In fact, getting to $100 billion is the easy part. When Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, they cut spending by $53 billion and put the budget on a trajectory that led to a surplus. Here are a few ideas of where we could start.
-- End President Obama's failed economic stimulus program and recover the unspent funds. ProPublica, an investigative website that has been tracking spending under Obama's $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, says there is $152 billion still in the pipeline and $48 billion "left to spend." Rescind the money and apply it to the deficit.