When it comes to the budget, both parties seem to be playing fast and loose with the numbers.
Many observers say battles on Capitol Hill play out more like schoolyard scuffles--with often the same maturity level. And in these debates, not everybody plays fair.
The current budget battle is no different: Both sides seem to be playing fast and loose with their numbers.
It started with this comment from White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling: "The White House has been willing to move halfway to where they are." So Dems are offering $50 billion in cuts compared with the Republicans' proposed $100 billion.
They're both wrong; their numbers are based on President Obama's 2011 budget proposal, not what the budget actually is.
So the GOP’s suggested $100 billion is more like $61 billion in cuts. And the Democrats' fuzzy math is even more ridiculous, not only are they basing their numbers on the proposal, they're already including cuts that have been made and signed into law.
Forty billion dollars of the White House ‘compromise" comes from the president’s never-passed proposal and were included in a spending bill that was never enacted.
On top of that phantom $40 billion, the White House adds the $4 billion in cuts already signed into law this week as part of the two-week stopgap spending measure.
Yesterday Vice President Joe Biden met with congressional leaders to kick off negotiations on getting a spending bill that lasts past March. Biden and his cronies announced they were putting forward an additional $6.5 billion in cuts.
So let's do the math: If you take the $4 billion already being done and the proposed $6.5 billion, that $10.5 billion…a far cry from the 50 billion dollars they were boasting.
So forget halfway, the White House plan is only about 17% of the GOP measure.
So, we're now two weeks away from another possible government shutdown - and the two sides have never seemed farther apart.
I'm not optimistic because there's one thing the Democrats have that the Republicans don't.... a veto pen.
Gerri Willis is the host of "The Willis Report" (5PM/ET), a primetime program that covers the leading financial and political stories of the day and their impact on consumers. Click here to see more from Gerri Willis.