The new class of House Republicans came to Washington to make cuts, and that is exactly what they have begun doing. They have quite proudly managed to put together a continuing resolution that will cut $61 billion from existing programs. No doubt these Republicans will be held up as “serious people” who are willing to make the “tough choices,” like cutting job training programs, AmeriCorps, nutritional assistance to the poor, home heating assistance, and, of course, defunding Big Bird.
To put all this in context, the $61 billion saved by severely cutting many domestic programs will end up being enough to pay for just barely more than four months of the almost decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the direct cost of the wars this year is roughly $468 million a day. Add in things like increased long-term health care costs for injured veterans, and the number of months of war these cuts will actually pay for is probably significantly less.
The anti-war members of Congress who want to quickly end the conflicts are basically advocating for a roughly $170 billion cut from our discretionary spending that would result in no reductions to any domestic program. That is an amount three times larger than all the cuts combined in this CR from House Republicans.
It would be nice if the title of “deficit hawk” was assigned to politicians based on how the totality of their positions would actually effect the budget, instead of merely their willingness inflict pain on regular people.