Between the spring 2011 budget fight, the debt ceiling debacle, and the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the United States has cut almost $1.5 trillion in spending over the next decade, plus saving roughly $200 billion more in lower interest payments.
In fact, at the Wall Street Journal breakfast featured in the video, reporter Lori Montgomery brought up all these previous cuts point blank with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Ryan’s rejoinder encapsulated the entire bizarre kabuki dance: “That was last session. We’re going forward now.” Montgomery and the other reporters literally busted out laughing in response. (Ryan’s logic doesn’t even work on its on terms. The new tax revenues in the fiscal cliff deal were part of the last congressional session as well, but he wants to count those.)
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the budget ledger, the country will raise only $630 billion in new tax revenue over the next decade. That’s the context in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) insists “the tax issue is finished,” even as both he and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) claim to be seeking a “balanced” agreement. As a result, everything from Medicare, to the military, food safety, air traffic control, nutritional support for women and infants, disaster relief, law enforcement, and health research looks likely to get the axe.