GOP Cuts Budget with an Axe Instead of a Scalpel: The point is not that there are no government programs worthy of cutting, but rather that this is a really stupid way to do it. The vast bulk of government spending, which goes to mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare, is completely exempted. And Republicans have effectively exempted the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs from cuts. This leaves only 16 percent of the budget from which they will extract their pound of flesh to satisfy voters who demand huge budget cuts but also oppose cutting just about any program except foreign aid....
[T]he fact is that millions of Americans benefit from government programs without realizing it. Indeed, research by Cornell political scientist Suzanne Mettler shows that many recipients of government benefits don’t believe that they have received any benefits..... The most recent study I could find that tried to do that was published by the Tax Foundation in 2007. It found that in 2004, a typical middle class family in the middle income quintile received $16,781 in benefits from the federal government.
No doubt, many of these people will very quickly find out who they are as soon as lobbyists start fighting the proposed cuts. Advertising, news stories, congressional testimony, and analyses from trade associations and think tanks will all be mobilized to identify, precisely, who will lose from the Republican meat ax and to make their views known. We could soon have a reverse Tea Party of laid off government workers, farmers and who knows how many other people irate at losing government benefits or government services such as post offices that will probably have to be closed.
We are already seeing some Tea Party favorites backtracking on their budget-cutting promises. For example, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MN, had promised to cut veterans benefits by $4.5 billion. But when veterans complained, she quickly took those cuts off the table. And on the House floor, Republican leaders have had difficulty getting the votes for their silly budget cut of the week plan.
It may turn out that the Republican effort is all for show... like their symbolic vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act....
[C]tting spending is neither easy, nor simple, nor fast. Republicans may imagine that they are leading a Blitzkrieg against government, but the reality is that it is trench warfare. Every serious budget expert knows this. Republicans have been deluding their allies in the Tea Party movement with promises that they knew they couldn’t keep. Soon, everyone else will know, too.