Monday, February 21, 2011

Avoiding entitlement reform

The great budget debate in Washington is mostly about the wrong stuff – the non-military discretionary portion of the budget, which is only 12% of the federal budget.  The programs that are on the chopping block are mostly pretty good programs.   But the reason they are in danger is because neither the Republicans, who want to cut spending in general, nor the Democrats, who want to increase spending on these kinds of programs, are willing to cut spending where it really matters – entitlements.

So, we have each party digging in for a big showdown by issuing their normal talking points.  The Democrats say that the Republicans are cutting programs because they are mean old uncaring nasties.  And the Republicans say that the Democrats are resisting cuts because they are power hungry control freaks who want to take over more and more of everybody’s lives with government control.

Neither has the courage to reduce spending on entitlements.  The real game of chicken going on in D.C. is not who will blink and give in before a government shutdown has to happen, it is who is going to be the first to step forward to reduce entitlement spending.