Philip Klein of the American Spectator explains why:
Philip Klein. American Spectator. 10 October 2010.
Republican candidates will discuss the need to cut waste from the budget vaguely while ruling out cuts to entitlements and defense spending. To demonstrate how absurd this is, I put together this pie chart breaking down the components of the 2009 federal budget. All of the parts in blue -- or 83 percent -- would be off limits for any cuts if you follow what the typical Republican candidates are saying and read the GOP's "Pledge to America." That leaves just 17 percent of the budget left to cut. Even if you were to eliminate this entire slice of the budget (meaning you're willing to gut the Department of Homeland Security and defund all other federal agencies and departments) it wouldn't even eliminate half of last year's deficit.
More specifically, the federal budget was $3.5 trillion in 2009. Mandatory spending is primarily comprised of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but also of programs such as veteran's benefits, unemployment insurance and food stamps. While Republicans have taken some stands on paying for additional extensions of unemployment benefits, they've maintained their underlying support for the benefits. So if you eleminate mandatory spending, that takes nearly $2.1 trillion off of the table. That leaves discressionary spending. But if the defense budget is off limits, there's another $655 billion that's untouchable. And unless the GOP is for defaulting on the national debt, they'd have to support spending $187 billion on interest payments. That leaves just $582 billion left that's theoretically touchable. Republicans have pledged to save $100 billion by returning spending to pre-stimulus levels. But even if they were willing to go further, and get rid of the entire $582 billion in discretionary spending, it still wouldn't even get at half the deficit -- which stood at over $1.4 trillion in 2009.
To express this visually:
|Image Credit: Philip Klein (see above).|
The Republicans have promised only to cut from the red slice - and only some of it.
Tip of the Hat to Timothy Karney, Washington's best man has for exposing the intertwined ills of government largess and corporate oligarchy.