The $30 billion in budget cuts that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has come out in support of are probably achievable but, in many ways, seem awfully timid.
Although certain parts of the Republican Study Committee’s budget cutting plan simply weren’t workable or politically wise, about 80 percent of the plan made sense for a nation looking to tighten its belt. While a smaller round of budget cuts will let the GOP avoid some truly unworkable ideas in the RSC plan, it will also mean that certain choice bits of pork and needless spending are almost certain to survive.
While acknowledging that certain promised savings won’t, or couldn’t materialize, a party committed to fiscal discipline could have found more areas — subsides for ethanol, farm price supports, needless weapons systems — that would have more than made up for whatever doesn’t get pressed.
Ryan and all House Republicans will eventually have to compromise on any spending reduction plan if they hope to get it passed and signed by the president. But starting with a plan to cut only $30 billion gives up too much ground before the battle really starts. Ryan and company should follow the sage advice of turn-of-the-century labor leader Samuel Gompers and ask for more (or, really in this case, less) to start with.