The voters have swept Republicans back into office, apparently forgetting that the G.O.P. is much better at preaching about balanced budgets than delivering. (Reagan years – debt up, Bush I years – debt up, Clinton years – debt down, Bush II years – debt up; Source). The deficit-busting ideas of our new fiscal saviors add up to precisely squat point three percent of the federal budget. (Republican Senator Jim DeMint’s signature plan to cut all earmarks would fix less than 1% of the problem.)
Monkeys with darts or children with crayons could do a better job of putting the nation’s finances in order. In fact, there’s a wildly fun interactive graphic at the New York Times (ok, “wildly” may be a stretch) which puts the red pen in your hand and invites you to balance the budget by your own priorities.
“… The deficit-busting ideas of our new fiscal saviors add up to precisely squat point three percent of the federal budget.”
The conventional wisdom is that balancing the budget requires either massive cuts to medicare and social security or massive tax increases. Not true. I’m a self-avowed liberal yet 72% of my budget-balancing came through spending cuts and only 28% through tax increases. Those so-called tax “increases” are largely a return to more historically normal tax rates like the kind that saw the economy grow through the Clinton years. What’s more, my spending cuts come more out of wasteful government programs the media don’t like to talk about (outdated military programs and corporate-socialist farm subsidies) rather than the ones they do (earmarks and entitlements).
Enough talk. Head over to the Times‘ budget balancer and start cutting however you like. Feel free to come back and share your own budget recipe. Extra points for zeroing out the President’s so-called Deficit Commission (note to NYTimes: please add this feature).