2009budget

Courtesy of Phil Klein and Tim Carney:

The blue parts of that chart are the parts Republicans have said they won't cut. The red slice, well that's fair game.
Says Klein:

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.

And now, courtesy of Britain's Tories, we have a real example of actual fiscal conservatives. Leave aside the legitimate debate about whether it's the right thing to do right now, the Tories bravely campaigned on major cuts - even in welfare which is beloved by their own core constituency, like child benefit - and delivered, risking their entire future on what they believe is the responsible thing to do. Here's the Telegraph's graphic of what they've cut:

Spending-review-20_1743728a

They've raised the retirement age to 66; they plan to reduce the numbers of criminals in prison; they've cut police funding; they've cut defense by 8 percent; they've slashed subsidies to the regions. And remember the British debt is not that much higher than the US debt: Yes, the welfare cuts will hurt the poor, but the biggest hit will come from middle class entitlements. The wealthy, including the Queen, are reeling:

Taxpayers on the higher rate will lose more than £2.5billion annually from the removal of child benefit far more than the £1billion predicted by the Chancellor earlier this month. More than one million better-off families also face losing incapacity benefit, which will be means-tested. Those deemed capable of working will be able to claim the benefit for only a year before family income and savings are assessed. It will cut £2billion from the welfare budget. Households with an income of more than $75,000 will each lose about five per cent of their annual earnings by paying thousands of pounds extra in tax while losing benefits and access to public services, Treasury figures indicate.

So Obama is far to the "right" of the British Tories on his plans for tax increases (he will raise them on those earning over $250,000, rather than $75,000); he is also to the right of the Tories by cutting Medicare spending, while they have retained spending for the NHS (government health spending, of course, is a far bigger slice of the American economy than the British one); in contrast, the current GOP is simply off the cliff of fiscal reality.

The Republicans are not conservatives; they are populists in total denial of what simply has to be done. It seems to me reporters should be demanding of the GOP why they cannot bite the bullet the way their counterparts in Britain have.

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