Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), the congressman who proposed a preposterous bill to lower the debt ceiling, today trivialized enormous cuts to government services by comparing them to someone having to drop out of a country club because of the bad economy. Broun is opposing the deficit reduction plan put forward by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) because he believes it doesn’t go far enough. When MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell confronted him on the absurdity of trying to lower the borrowing limit on money Congress has already spent, Broun insisted that government has to act like a person who is “overextended” would:
BROUN: The thing is, when someone is overextended and broke they don’t continue paying for expensive automobiles. They sell the expensive automobiles and buy a cheaper one. They don’t continue paying for country club dues, they drop out of the country club.
Broun clearly doesn’t understand the magnitude of the cuts being considered, and how dramatically they will affect average Americans. Dropping out of a country club may be his idea of sacrificing, but it’s tragically out of touch with the reality of millions of families, who are struggling to pay their bills and have to choose between paying for food or electricity.
Boehner is currently revising his original plan, which cut $850 billion and called for a committee of lawmakers to recommend an additional $1.8 trillion in deficit cuts, because conservatives like Broun complained that it didn’t go far enough. That original plan was described by Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget Policy Priorities as “tantamount to class warfare” for its draconian cuts, which he says “could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.”
Boehner’s plan would force at least $1.5 trillion in cuts to entitlement programs, while leaving tax breaks for the wealthy untouched (and, in fact, ignoring new revenues altogether). According to Greenstein, it will make policymakers choose among “cutting the incomes and health benefits of ordinary retirees, repealing the guts of health reform and leaving an estimated 34 million more Americans uninsured, and savaging the safety net for the poor.” But apparently, Broun thinks that’s akin to having to skip a few rounds at the golf course.