GOP Flirting With Budget Gimmicks to Tout False Savings

Posted: Jun 22, 2011 8:46 AM
The Joe Biden-led debt reduction talks look like they're going very well for Democrats. Just yesterday, GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled a willingness to have a short-term debt ceiling raise completely absent entitlement spending cuts. And today, it looks like the Republicans might be willing to play budget games to make it look like they're cutting spending when they're really not.

Negotiators seeking to carve trillions of dollars from the deficit are facing temptation to use iffy assumptions and outright gimmickry to exaggerate the size of spending cuts to accompany any increase in the government's ability to borrow to stay afloat.

These gimmicks would include claiming inflated savings from scheduled troop drawdowns overseas, expecting unrealistic domestic cuts, extending the ten-year budget window to twelve years, and claiming already-planned cuts will count in the deficit deal.

Republicans played this game before. It turned out that their continuing resolution budget deal earlier this year that claimed $38.5 billion in cuts actually didn't make any real cuts at all. They'll risk a great deal of anger with the people that put them in office to deal with long-term deficit and entitlement problems if they play the game again.