Jared Bernstein makes a point today that’s worth repeating: Republicans have given a lot of love to the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan lately, but it turns out that we’ve already made a lot of the spending cuts in their plan. Here are the basic numbers:
- Total discretionary spending cuts proposed: $2.1 trillion
- Revenue increases proposed: $2.6 trillion
- Discretionary spending cuts already passed in 2011: $1.5 trillion
- What’s left: $0.6 trillion in discretionary spending cuts and $2.6 trillion in tax increases
This doesn’t count savings from interest on the debt, it doesn’t count reduced war expenses, it doesn’t count sequestration cuts scheduled for January 1, it doesn’t include entitlement cuts, and it’s not inflated by stimulus spending. These are apples-to-apples numbers on discretionary spending and revenue increases.
So we’ve already made pretty good progress on Bowles-Simpson’s discretionary spending cuts. Add in interest reductions and war cuts and we’ve made even more. But we’ve made no progress at all on the Bowles-Simpson revenue increases. When does that part of the plan get started?