Former Speaker: "The cupboard is bare" on spending cuts

This one was getting a lot of play after the morning shows, and while it’s no longer possible to attach any superlative adjectives to the alternate universe of things which come out of Nancy Pelosi’s mouth these days, the quote here surely deserves honorable mention.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that while deficit reduction is a laudable goal, there are precious few spending cuts left to negotiate in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

“The cupboard is bare,” the California Democrat said in an interview aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There’s no more cuts to make.”

“We all want to reduce the deficit,” she added. “Put everything on the table, review it, but you cannot have any more cuts just for the sake of cuts. Right now you’re taking trophies.”

Yes, we could start out with just a review of the most recent headlines and find waste which could be cut if we truly wanted to be tedious. The story about NASA blowing $24M per year on facilities it no longer needs or uses just came out yesterday. We could talk about training videos by the IRS and all of the other ludicrous waste which peppers the headlines on a weekly basis. But perhaps we could help the former Speaker out with some ideas which take place at an easier to digest, 10,000 foot level.

Let’s start by noting that the Sequestration Monster arrived, primed and ready to devour the nation and doom us to a dark pit of despair. And somehow we managed to keep on keeping on. Various agencies were informed that there wasn’t going to be quite as much money for the next year as had been previously anticipated and they responded by finding ways to make do. And the world didn’t end.

So here’s a thought for Ms. Pelosi and the rest of Washington to ponder. Let’s not make any targeted cuts for the new budget. Because any time you pick out one specific program or office to trim, the defenders of that particular rice bowl will summon their allies, demonize the people asking for the cuts, and turn it into yet another endless circus to keep the cable news networks in business. So instead of doing that, if you really agree that “we all want to reduce the deficit” and that it is “a laudable goal” to achieve, let’s just pass an across the board one percent reduction in every aspect of the budget. Just one little bitty percent out of every aspect of spending. Have it include the salaries of every man, woman and child drawing a check on the public dime, from the President all the way across the board to the person who shampoos the carpets in the Congressional office buildings. (Though that’s a rather unfair comparison, as the carpet shampooer is arguably providing a valuable service.)

Trust me. Everyone would find a way to get their jobs done and every worker would survive. You could also make the argument to the voters that it was leveling the playing field a bit for the many working class Americans who have gone with no raise for several years in the economy Washington has been overseeing while federal workers have largely continued to get mandated raises in most periods. And if you lopped one percent off of a budget that size, you’d be shocked at how much money you’d save. Heck, you could make it one half of one percent and ring up some real savings.

There. Now was that so hard? You can thank me later.

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