I’ve been in a kind of day-long twitter spat with the right-wing over the fact that the House Republican spending plan would involve cuts in tsunami warning programs.
So to pull out of the weeds for a moment on the blog, the point I want to make is this. If you insist on large cuts in “spending” what happens is that you need large cuts in what the government spends money on. That’s primarily the military, Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. If you insist instead, as the House Republicans, on large cuts in non-security discretionary spending what happens is you get large cuts in all non-security discretionary spending programs. Cuts in schools. Cuts in tsunami monitoring. Cuts in hurricane tracking. Cuts in national parks. Cuts in financial regulatory enforcement. Cuts, cuts, cuts. That’s what it means to “cut.” If you want the government to spend much less money, it needs to do less stuff. If you want the government to spend much less money while avoiding cuts in the government’s most expensive programs, it needs to really scale back on all the other stuff. That’s what cutting spending is. The belief that spending should be substantially reduced requires the belief that the government should do substantially less stuff.
Related: Dave Weigel on why the day of a tsunami is a good time to talk about the NOAA budget.