John Boehner and Harry Reid have nearly identical discretionary cuts. If this debate is truly about how much to cut spending today, then the debate is over. (It's not over.)
By my count, the difference between John Boehner's new cuts and Harry Reid's plan is only $5 billion in domestic spending reductions over 10 years. Five billion.
That's 0.6% of the discretionary cuts in discussion.
That's' 0.1% of this year's nearly $4 trillion budget.
That's 0.06% of the decade's $9 trillion debt burden.
If this debate is truly about reducing spending, then the debate is over. But the debate isn't over. Because it's not just about spending.
There are two remaining sticking points in these budget discussions (to see the full overlaps and sticking points, see this Washington Post graphic prepared by Rosalind S. Helderman and Laura Stanton I've included at the bottom of this piece).
First, there is the debt ceiling. Boehner wants to hold another debt ceiling vote in six months because the GOP thinks these votes hurt the president.* Reid wants to push the debt ceiling off another two years for the exact same reason.
This political wrangling has no economic purpose. But it does have an economic impact. The Dow fell by 200 points today and our debt rating is in jeopardy because, to all observers, our government has the same capacity for order and compromise of a kindergarten class left unattended with a bag of marshmallows. If you think another round of these painful fights in six months is an acceptable outcome in a weak economy, I would suggest that you watch more cable TV (for only this purpose!) to see how destructive the debt ceiling is in the hands of this government.