Cutting With An Axe

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That's how Bruce Bartlett characterizes the approach being taken by the GOP House:

One of the biggest problems we have in dealing with the budget is the gross level of budgetary ignorance on the part of the public that I detailed last week. But an even bigger problem is that Republicans in Congress appear to be just as ignorant about the actual impact of the grandiose spending cuts they repeatedly claim they are going to enact immediately. In coming weeks, everyone is going to get a very fast and very rough education on the real effects of slashing government spending.

In coming weeks we could see a dramatic turnaround in public opinion on government spending. Up until now, it has all been theoretical; Republicans could easily pander to the Tea Party crowd with big promises of shrinking government without anyone in that crowd believing that it will affect them in any way. But the fact is that millions of Americans benefit from government programs without realizing it.

Says Instapundit:

What I’d say is that for the time being at least, across-the-board cuts are better than cutting with a “scalpel.” First , scalpels aren’t good for cutting very much at a time. Second, wielded by incompetents, scalpels don’t cut any more precisely. Now, how competent do you think our political class is?

If they cut with a “scalpel,” it’ll mostly be used to carve out exceptions for favored constituencies. I’d rather see an honest axe than a dishonest scalpel.

An "honest axe" wouldn't exclude Medicare, Social Security, and the Pentagon from cuts.

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