That makes one of us. If you’re anticipating an excoriation of The One here based on the above headline, lower your expectations: Not only does Boehner resort to gassy platitudes about an “adult conversation” on entitlements, but when pressed by Kathleen Parker on how he’s going to chip away at our colossal deficit, he mentions reining in congressmen’s personal budgets and trimming $50-60 billion in spending. (Oh, and repealing ObamaCare, which has no chance of becoming law anytime soon.) To refresh your memory, CBO said just a few hours ago that we’ll be another $1.5 trillion in the red this year alone; $50 billion in cuts would put a dent in that of just a bit more than … three percent. It’s like trying to tear down Mt. Everest by carrying one softball-sized rock at a time off the mountain.
After last night’s total abdication of responsibility by The One and Paul Ryan’s well-meaning but evasive rebuttal, I think I’m finally off the “let’s ban earmarks” bandwagon for good. I understand the virtues of that position, but honestly, at this point any call for spending cuts that doesn’t focus public attention on the core problem of entitlements and long-term sustainability is a distraction and a net loss. Even the usual argument, that we need to address pork because it’s a “gateway drug” to higher spending, doesn’t make sense given the gravity of the problem. It’s like trying to stop an epidemic of heroin use not by banning heroin but by banning marijuana: Better to address the core problem immediately and worry about preventative “gateway” measures later, no? All we’re doing with the earmarks bromides is giving Obama and Boehner political cover to ignore Social Security and Medicare while jerking around with symbolic cuts to infrastructure projects. Priorities, priorities.