Entitlements And The Right
The Corner is having a heated debate on spending (yay!):
I know you know that the name of the game is entitlement reform, and the rules are simple: save the entitlements, save the world. Ignore them, and we’re Greece with better plumbing. But the president’s jokey budget does the latter, and the Republican response has been, if possible, even more disheartening... some of the selfsame tea-party heroes who raised hell over what amounts to one percent of the budget, are hemming and hawing on the Roadmap and entitlement reform in general non-committal at best and cowardly at worst.
That's Dan Foster. And here's Ramesh Ponnuru, defending entitlement madness:
Did I miss the meeting where pronouncing the latest version of Ryan’s plan divinely inspired became a litmus test for conservatism? The notion that cutting entitlements is only slightly harder than cutting discretionary spending ignores polling, political history, and the practical judgment of most of the people who would actually pay the political costs. I’m not sure on what basis you could reach your conclusion. And finally, I doubt that trashing people for the politically difficult spending cuts they are trying to make is a way to encourage them to make more.
Foster's reply is what wins the debate:
Your bet is then that the Republicans can win a fight on discretionary spending against the Democrats and the manifold of constituencies who'll feel the impact of these cuts, and have enough amperage left to create a Republican victory in 2012 complete with a mandate to fix entitlements. My bet is that the chances of getting the full $100 billion in cuts into a joint CR, and the benefits that would accrue from doing so, are both sufficiently low that there is nothing recommending doing them instead of entitlement reform. Indeed, the real worry is that the Republicans will pass the $100 billion after a bloody battle and be even less inclined to take on entitlements. Having declared a hollow victory, they'll turn out a dead-letter 2012 budget that rolls back spending to 2008 or even 2006 levels but says just as much -- that is, as little -- as the president did today on the real deficit drivers. You bet that the Republicans can turn this mutual inaction into a winner in 2012. I'm skeptical.
I'm just depressed. But good for Foster.