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July 31st, 2011 3:13 pm
Front-Load the Spending Cuts

As House and Senate negotiators scramble to fashion a deal that can garner 60 votes in the Senate, 216 or 217 votes in the House, and President Alinsky’s signature (I still smell a last-minute torpedo job from The One), three keys should guide the Republican leaders. First, defense spending should be significantly protected. Second, absolutely no tax hikes should be part of the “trigger” mechanism for the second round of savings, and the Senators and House members appointed by GOP leaders to the commission should also be known anti-taxers who have signed the ATR pledge. Third, and this is of utmost importance: In order to reassure conservatives, the domestic discretionary spending cuts should be even more front-loaded than the Boehner plan was. The revised Boehner plan cut $22 billion in the first year; the new one OUGHT to cut at least $25 billion, and it should accordingly cut more in the second year than Boehner’s revised plan did.

Frankly, we should not care much what the caps are in years nine and ten; but history shows that spending caps actually tend to work in the first two or three years at least — and that if savings are achieved for more than one year, the “baseline” for future spending tends to drop and stay dropped for another two or three years — so the first two or three years are crucial.

Frankly, as long as these three conditions are met, I think Reaganite conservatives will have won, on behalf of the public, a reasonably decent victory.

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