Monday night, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was pressed by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to identify what programs he would eliminate in order to address the deficit. All Ryan could come up with was repealing the remaining stimulus and TARP funds. By advocating for the elimination of the stimulus, Ryan was endorsing a tax increase on the middle class. However, at least Ryan was able to positively identify something that he would cut.
Today, Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) went on MSNBC and put on an even less impressive performance. Mike Barnacle begged Shadegg to identify just one specific program that he would axe, but Shadegg fell back on the conservative tactic of calling for an across the board cut on all programs:
BARNACLE: We have had an endless stream of members of Congress and the United States Senate on here over the past two or three years and whenever they are asked the question, ‘specifically, what would you cut to trim spending in the federal government,’ everybody agrees it’s a huge problem, we have to soak our faces in cement here on the set to prevent ourselves from laughing out loud at the non-answers we get. So my question to you, long-winded question here, is, can you please, I’m begging you, give me just one program you’d cut? We’ll start with just one program you’d cut.
SHADEGG: Well, there are lots of programs I would cut. I would begin by an across the board cut on all spending because I think we need to spread this…I’d say five percent across the board tomorrow on every single program, including defense, then you’d begin the process in the right direction.
But an across the board cut makes no attempt to prioritize between vital, necessary programs that people depend upon and unnecessary, wasteful spending. It simply takes the same chunk out of everything. Is Shadegg willing to cut veteran’s health care or Social Security benefits by five percent tomorrow? How about border enforcement, food stamps, homeland security, the FBI, or national park funding? By not providing one single idea, instead opting for a tired talking point, Shadegg shows that he isn’t interested in grappling with any of the realities of the budget.
The Wonk Room has ideas on programs that could be cut.