A Deal On Spending?

The Hill reports that Republican and Democratic negotiators may be getting close to a deal on FY 2011 spending:

A source familiar with the talks said members of the Senate and House Appropriations panels are working toward a target of $33 billion in spending cuts. The $33 billion goal splits the difference between $30 billion in cuts Senate Democrats have proposed and $36 billion in cuts Boehner suggested in talks with White House officials, according to the source.
The $33 billion would be close to the cuts first proposed by House GOP leaders, who moved to $61 billion in proposed cuts under pressure from freshmen in their conference. Policy language defunding the new healthcare law and Planned Parenthood, which conservatives have insisted should be in a final deal, remains a sticking point.

Democrats give the impression that they are salivating over the prospect of a government shutdown. That may be bluff; I haven’t seen any any poll data that suggest the Republicans would be “blamed” any more than the Democrats.
Is $33 billion a reasonable deal for the GOP? The answer depends mostly on political calculation. The real showdown will be over the FY 2012 budget. Paul Ryan will release the Republicans’ proposal some time next month, and the battle will then be joined. It may well be that the FY 2011 continuing resolutions are a distraction that have the potential to put the GOP in a hole for the real battle.
I don’t know about that; John Boehner and his associates can calculate the political odds much better than we can. Presumably. But I will say this: $33 billion in cuts represents a trivial amount. If we use the Big Mac extra value meal analogy, a $33 billion cut in the federal budget represents the equivalent of ordering the meal; eating the Big Mac; drinking the Coke; and eating 85 out of 87 french fries. Then you take the 86th fry, bite off one sixth of it, and put the remaining 5/6 of one fry back in the box, along with the 87th fry. Is that a substantial cut? No.


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