Jonah Goldberg
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Would another trillion in education spending really have a greater return than, say, allowing American companies to drill for the billions of gallons of oil under our soil and the trillions of cubic feet of natural gas? Don't ask Pelosi. Like Bluto in "Animal House" talking about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor, she's on a roll.

Why am I talking about Durbin and Pelosi? Well, Obama is in a fetal crouch under the Oval Office desk, muttering something about the need for courage and bipartisanship while quietly proposing $6.5 billion in cuts, which the Congressional Budget Office said is really only $4.7 billion. (That's about 700 million more than the U.S. spends in borrowed money every day. Imagine someone in obscene debt going a little more than 24 hours without using his credit card. Problem solved!)

Oh, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seems determined to keep talking until the men in the white coats escort him off the Senate floor. He was last heard saying the GOP has gone crazy because it had cut funding to a cowboy poetry festival in Nevada. No, really. Stop laughing.

In 2007, the budget was 19.6 percent of the GDP. In 2009, it went up to 25 percent of GDP. That's where the Democrats would like to see it stay.

What happened? The financial crisis, of course. But as many of us suggested at the time, one of the Democrats' real motives behind the stimulus was to inflate the "baseline" budget so that huge increases would never be reversed thanks to the D.C. logic that a cut in growth is a cut.

Now, Democrats greet any attempt to restore the size of government to its pre-crisis size -- when we were still living way above our means -- as if America would be plunged into the Stone Age.

Look at it this way. Those heartless Republican bastards would cut 2011 non-defense discretionary spending from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent of GDP. Under Bill Clinton, such spending averaged 3.1 percent of GDP.

We owe $14 trillion we don't have. Our total liabilities -- i.e., social security and other entitlements -- dwarf that. Obviously, we can't just cut discretionary spending alone. But if it's this hard to ask cowboy poets to cowboy up, how are we going to deal with what everyone agrees is the much harder stuff?

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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