Thursday, July 28, 2011


"Draconian Cut" With reference to the ongoing soap opera in Washington about the speed with which the country is being driven into insolvency. First a bit of background. In Washington, when some agency, say the Department of Redundancy Department (DORD) gets assigned a budget, say $100B, there is an assumption that next year its budget will be 6% higher or $106B.

If some curmudgeon steps up and points out that there isn't enough money for this and suggests that next year's DORD budget be $105B, the fans of redundancy rise up and howl about the "draconian" 20% cut to the DORD's budget.

Since we've all been told (repeatedly) of all the wonderful things the DORD does for us, the "cut" is ignored, and the shortage is made up by printing a few extra Benjamens.

Against that background, it now appears that Rep Boehner's budget, which the Dems are condemning as "draconian" actually reduces spending very little in the near term, and not all that much in the long term. This has caused a number of Reps in the house to inform their leader that they want something that smells a bit more like pachyderm and less like donkey or they're not voting for it. The president has threatened to veto it if it appears on his desk, which I suspect is a bluff.

Moderate as he is, according to Paul Krugman:
The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president--actually a moderate conservative president. . . .
I can't understand why he wouldn't welcome the bill, unless he's actually holding out for real cuts.

David Plouffe is perhaps a bit more honest in his assessment:
"The debt ceiling debate would ruin Christmas," Plouffe said. He was apparently ad-libbing the line, but now it's found its way into the White House's official talking points.
Which makes perfect sense as giving the president a shiny new credit card with a big new limit that could get him past the upcoming elections would certainly be a Christmas gift, even in July.

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