Collins is first GOP senator to oppose Ryan budget proposal – The Hill’s Floor Action

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.

via Collins is first GOP senator to oppose Ryan budget proposal – The Hill’s Floor Action.

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.


  1. Shadowfax says:

    Agree that nibbling on the edges is not going to do it. The Ryan plan is also unserious, despite the praise it’s gotten in some circles. It assumes that we will get discretionary spending back to some ridiculously low level but has no mechanism or specifics on how we get there — what the wonks call a “magic asterix” and it also assumed some ridiculous low level of unemployment to get there. It claims to reduce the deficit despite some $6trillion in new tax cuts. It is not unserious; it’s fantasy. I don’t have the links in front of me (I’m on the iPad in bed. Is that TMI?) but can get them for you if you like.

    I’d be interested to hear what you think about the poorly named “people’s budget” put out by the house progressive caucus. I haven’t read it, and it is of course without a hope of passing, but I hear the numbers actually add up to a balanced budget. Of course, this is also the perfect example why democrats seem to lose a lot of debates. The “people’s budget”?!? Really? Does it come bound in a “little red book”? Sigh. Face palm.

  2. Haven’t seen it. Sounds like a terrific name to sink it, though, I agree.

  3. The only difference I can see between Democrat math and Republican math is that Democrats think we can save trillions by nibbling at programs here and raising a few taxes there, while Republicans think we can do the same by slashing programs and taxes. Call me crazy, but when my own budget gets out of whack, bringing in less money is never the answer, nor is looking for loose change in the street and skipping that bag of chips at lunch. Balancing the budget is going to HURT, and it should ALL of us, not just some.

    (Probably gonna get my bedwetting liberal card revoked for that.)

  4. The Happy Hospitalist says:

    FREE=MORE has finally arrived mainstream media. I’ve been squawking about the debt since 2007. There is no answer to save America unless Medicare benefits get slashed,sliced and diced. The answer lies in Medicare and nowhere else. Just Google “Storms on the horizon”. It’s a speech given by the Dallas Federal Reserve Chairman a few years ago. It’s down right scary where we are heading without accepting the reality of the truth we currently find ourselves in

  5. I sincerely doubt that the United States can be saved.

    Somehow though, if “the world’s greatest democracy” can summon the will (HA!)…I’m going to wager that this guy’s schemes are our best hope.

    (it also might be a little easier if 18.74% of total federal outlays weren’t appropriated to the Ministry of War…just sayin’)