Freshly arrived in my inbox from CNN, the very first clip of Burnett in her new gig as anchor — and it’s a huge boost to Democrats. Go figure. I’m tossing this out there because (a) you’re sure to hear this point debated tomorrow by economists various and sundry, so we might as well get the ball rolling, (b) you may very well see it touted by the Cut, Cap, and Balance crowd as proof that Boehner’s proposal needs to be bolder, and (c) Burnett herself seems justifiably skeptical that Reid’s plan gets us any closer to sustainability than Boehner’s does. A quote from later in today’s show, not seen here but sent along by CNN:
So I spoke to an investor who — a very influential investor who had a chance to sit down with S&P. And what he was saying was, the reason for S&P — and as you’re suggesting this — and it’s unclear what they would actually do — but suggesting to him that they felt this way, was really about the size of the plan, not what is in them. I think it is important to emphasize that most people think that both of the plans are really Band-Aids and don’t deal in any significant way with the spending and cost issues in the country.
But the issue was that Speaker Boehner’s plan does not cut enough spending right away. Harry Reid’s plan, of course, would cut about $2.7 trillion. So just because it is bigger than Speaker Boehner’s plan is really the reason that the Boehner plan may still trigger a downgrade.
Right, it’s bigger — and as Burnett herself says in the clip, it’s packed with gimmicks like war “savings.” And of course, like Boehner’s plan, it does squat about entitlements, which are the real drivers of U.S. debt. Which leaves us where? With America’s credit rating in the hands of an S&P that’s drawing distinctions based on … mainly superficial factors? Or is Burnett’s source behaving as cynically as one suspects, trying to nudge the CNN audience towards backing Reid over Boehner for arbitrary/political reasons?