• This Week’s Column: Will the Republicans Really Cut This Time?

      Now that Republicans control the House, they’re talking big on spending cuts. Again. But talk is cheap. During the last Republican Administration, federal spending increased 54% … and Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for most of it. Why should we believe them now?

      What’s worse, even their talk only aims at the low-hanging fruit: non-defense discretionary spending. In my FBN show and syndicated column this week, I give two Republican Congressmen a hard time – Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey, No. 2 on the budget committee, and Bill Huizenga, a freshman from Michigan.

      -- I understand their reluctance to mention the big stuff, given the political opposition, but when will politicians bite that bullet? They need to!

      -- I'm glad the House leadership has talked about cutting spending back to 2008 budget levels. Garrett said: "Some of us would say let's roll it back even further -- to '07 or '06 levels."

      -- Why not? Why not cut back to the first Bush budget, in 2002, before his spending orgy? I never got a clear answer to that. "Let's figure out what constitutionally we must be doing and where we have started coloring way outside the lines," Huizenga suggested. "Two, are (programs) being effective? ... If they are, fund them. If they're not, let's de-fund them."

      -- The Republicans' promised spending cuts are directed at "nondefense discretionary" spending. Fine. Cut that. But "nondefense discretionary" spending is just 15 percent of the budget. The Republicans' pledge leaves out the big stuff: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what the government calls defense. That's where the big money is.

      Full column here.

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