Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 8, 2011

THE SECRET SPENDING-CUT PLANS.... Freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has a budget plan that features more than $500 billion in spending cuts. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) thinks that's a great idea.

"I think we could do it," he says. "It's entirely possible."

For the time being, Coburn acknowledges that the plan may not be politically viable. He is also still reviewing the document. But he applauds the Kentucky freshman's verve.

"I could give you $350 billion worth of cuts tomorrow that nobody would miss," Coburn says.

I feel like this kind of rhetoric is fairly common on the right. "Spending cuts are easy," they say. "I can come up with a plan to slash spending in such a way that wouldn't cause massive pain."

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ran around saying he could cut federal spending by $160 billion without breaking a sweat. When pressed, he'd say, "Is there any American that doesn't believe that there's tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars that can be saved?"

But that wasn't an answer, and neither is Coburn's assurance that he could cut $350 billion that "nobody" would even "miss" it.

Unless their magical spending plans need to be kept secret, maybe these budget visionaries could do a little follow through? If it's so easy, perhaps they could be so gracious as to share their wisdom with the rest of us?

Otherwise, some of us might be inclined to think these guys talk a good game, but can't back up their rhetoric with anything substantive.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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Comments

As the cliche catch line goes: Show Me The Money.

Posted by: martin on February 8, 2011 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of something "nobody would miss", how about the U. S. Senate?

Posted by: DAY on February 8, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if any of these cuts includes the elimination of some of the agricultural subsidies that I am sure Oklahoma benefits from.

Posted by: bignose on February 8, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

What's at the other end of a federal dollar?? Generally a job or a transfer payment. That's a lot of lost jobs that I think many people will "miss."

Posted by: Bob on February 8, 2011 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

These guys are determined to act out the mythological characters of their misremembered youth . This would be where Damon Runyon wrote about warm smells coming from the kitchen , where the Jets and the Rockets went to dinner with Tony and Maria , and the Blackboard Jungle was too many blackboards in the era before computers .

Posted by: FRP on February 8, 2011 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Two greedy doctors, reading from the same page, does not make for good policy. Bet is, neither one of these dudes would vote for a salary redution for senators of 5%.

Posted by: Ted76 on February 8, 2011 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

McCain also claimed he knew how to catch Osama bin Laden, but was waiting until he was elected before he would tell anyone.

Posted by: catclub on February 8, 2011 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

If film noir and crime movies have taught me anything, it's that somebody is going to "miss" any amount of money with zeroes in it.

Posted by: Grumpy on February 8, 2011 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

For budget year 2011 let's see ...........

Another $9.9 billion down the rabbit hole on a ballistic missile defense pipe dream.


Another $20.6 plus billion on cold war relic related upgrades.

And that's just scratching the surface of a $685 billion bloated government program.

Posted by: Oh my on February 8, 2011 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Talk. The GOP has spent 2+ years telling us all that they have the plan to solve this or that and have yet to show any plan at all, any actionable plan on anything to deal with the nation's problems. That shouldn't surprise anyone...it was their "plans" that got us into the mess we've been in....useless wars, financial meltdowns, etc. In fact, the GOPer's who have offered "plans" turn out to make the problems worse, i.e. Congressman Ryan.

Posted by: T2 on February 8, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

"I could give you $350 billion worth of cuts tomorrow that nobody would miss," Coburn says.

What is he waiting on ? Why not give them to us today?

Posted by: Stephen on February 8, 2011 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Was the reporter's answer, "What time tomorrow? I can come to your office."? I doubt it, but it should have been.

Posted by: Ken D. on February 8, 2011 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Ken D., if anyone asked, Coburn would likely beg off by saying, "Figure of speech."

To which you might respond, "'You're full of crap' is a figure of speech, too."

Posted by: Grumpy on February 8, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

"I could give you $350 billion worth of cuts tomorrow that nobody would miss," Coburn says.

Is the domain name hey-tom-put-up-or-shut-up.com available?

Posted by: Steve M. on February 8, 2011 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

I could eliminate the deficit and the national debt tomorrow. But I choose not to until everyone hails me as the Greatest Guy Ever.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on February 8, 2011 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Coburn is correct. Nobody in the constituency he cares about--the megawealthy and the dupes who will suffer to support the megawealthy if you wave juicy social issues in front of said dupes' noses--will miss the $350 billion in cuts.

Everybody else in America will, of course, because those cuts will be targeting us.

Posted by: shortstop on February 8, 2011 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

As many have noted, the "respectful reporter" is one of the greater threats to the welfare of this country.

Why didn't the interviewer challenge Coburn for something to back that statement up?

If the press were a little more demanding, maybe these jackasses wouldn't make such moronic statements and perhaps adopt a more moderate, realistic position.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 8, 2011 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of something "nobody would miss", how about the U. S. Senate?

Right, those hardworking house of representatives will stop that pesky abortion funding for us.We certainly don't need a democrat controlled senate for anything.They'll be sending those jobs bills from the house anytime now, I could set my sundial to it.

Posted by: Michael on February 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Coburn is a dick. Rand Paul, on the other hand, is simply a freak.

Posted by: David Bailey on February 8, 2011 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Golly Moses, y'all are funny.

Posted by: Betsy on February 8, 2011 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

David Bailey. I beg to differ. Rand Paul is a dickish freak; or on somedays, a freakish dick...

Posted by: bigtuna on February 8, 2011 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Rand did say something about cutting aid to Israel. You might have missed that.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on February 8, 2011 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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