An astonishingly unserious look at the budget problem.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.) said Friday that she will not support the 2012 budget passed by the House last week.
“I don’t happen to support Congressman Ryan’s plan but at least he had the courage to put forth a plan to significantly reduce the debt,” Collins said on “In the Arena” a program on WCSH 6, a local NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine.
Collins, who is one of several centrists in the Senate Republican Caucus, did not say specifically what she opposed in the House GOP plan, but she did say that she would like to begin moving the government towards solvency by eliminating ethanol and farm subsidies as well as funding for an extra engine for the F-35 fighter jet.
“There are lots of opportunities to consolidate and save money,” Collins said.
I’m not a policy wonk, but I know BS when I hear it.
The Ryan plan proposes to reduce 10 year deficits by 5.8 Trillion, so 580bn/year for 10 years (as an average).
Senator Collins’ proposal: kill off farm subsidies (20bn/yr), Ethanol subsidies (best number I could find was 6bn/year) and kill off the GE ‘second engine’ for the F35 project. I couldn’t find hard numbers for that cost (I suspect there aren’t any that are founded in reality), but found one site that said just futzing with the consideration was costing someone a million a week. Crummy assumption, so let’s say it’s costing that much every day rather than every week. It’s a place to start, so, $365M/year, as a low-ball number, before production. All these numbers may be way, way, off, but let’s use them for illustration.
So, 26.365Bn/yr x 10 years = 263.65 Billion dollars. Which is only 5.537 Trillion short of the Ryan plan goal. Or, to look at it another way, this would knock 4.5% off the Ryan 10 year total. Leaving another 95.5% of the total to be discovered elsewhere.
Perhaps she has a whole lot of consolidating in mind. Maybe she’s going to write a check to cover the balance. Whichever, this statement is politician speak for ‘I’m not going to be the naysayer without a plan, I’m going to point out the things I’d cut as a way of showing I have some ideas, too’. But it’s patronizing when you run the numbers, and discover she’s not the least bit serious.
I’ve been reading about our financial problems, and the idea that we can kill off government checks to NPR and Foreign Aid and we’ll be fine is nuts. It’s not that they’re not worth doing, but it’s such small change that it’s barely even a start. There are no easy answers.
Everyone’s ox gets gored before this gets fixed, and pretending we can cut some fluff or a program that only directly affects a few isn’t serious.