“I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances,” said Pres. Obama after the federal budget agreement, reported Politico. Perhaps the president pines for the “better circumstances” of a Democratic-controlled Congress that won’t demand cuts at all (and failed to even pass a budget last year).
There are lessons here for fiscal conservatives. One is to keep the pressure up in the 2012 election cycle, maintaining Republican control of the House of Representatives, flipping control of the Senate, and electing a Republican as president. That gives America a fighting chance to cut the deficit and rein in the rampant debt.
Another lesson, particularly as key debates now unfold on the debt ceiling and the 2012 federal budget, is that Republicans should ask for more than double the cuts they want – and stick to it into the “compromise” zone. In the most recent budget battle, House Republicans passed a budget with $61 billion in cuts; and the compromise was about $38.5 billion, an amount Roger Kimball describes as “pathetic.”
The shallow – but pervasive – media narrative is that “compromise” is the highest virtue in budget battles. So conservatives should make it work for them. Compromise from a great height. If the goal is to cut $500 billion from the budget (as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., proposed in January), then put cuts on the table of more than $1 trillion.
But, the critics will howl, the federal budget is “only” $3.8 trillion. Exactly. We’re willing to compromise.
And, be forewarned, Pres. Obama and the Democrats will fight it every step of the way – and then take credit for it once it happens. Another line from his remarks: “Reducing spending while still investing in the future is just common sense.”