Path to Compromise: a 50/50 split on cut selection

Both Boehner and Reid have plans now, and the good news that they both have the formula of ‘some amount of cuts for some amount of debt ceiling increase’. The GOP won; the Democrats blinked.  Are we done? Nope. We need to get good cuts. I have a proposal, a path to Compromise that will give us (at least some) good cuts and a quick agreement: a 50/50 split on cut selection.

Frankly, Senator Reid’s plan is oddly better for Republicans. It gets us the cuts the House GOP asked for and it takes OFF the table the risk of tax increases, either now or in a cooked-up deal later on. Why did Senator Reid do that? It’s clear Senator Reid is about PROTECTING HIS DEMOCRAT SENATORS FROM TOUGH VOTES. It’s also clear that he cannot abide a real serious budget reform or entitlement reform. He can do the spending cuts though, because there are literrally trillions in fat in the Obama budget.

Now we all know what the problem with a Reid/Pelosi plan will be: It will be their ‘cuts’, fake phony out-year cuts, double-counting of cuts already taken, ‘cuts’ on a baseline that wont happen. The hilarity of a $1 trillion ‘cut’ because, get this, the wars are ending … um, so last week Reid, Pelosi and Obama were planning to EXTEND THE WAR and this week they are not?

See, their idea of cuts is to pretend to spending some money, then say “on second thought, lets not do that” and call that a ‘cut’.  We are going to get had if there is $2.5 trillion of that kind of ‘cut’.Do we then haggle over each cut? There isn’t time.  But there is a simple, non-partisan/bi-partisan way to handle this!

Each side, Republican House and Democrat Senate, gets to specify one half of the cuts. A true 50/50 split that allows each side to go in whichever direction they deem fit on ‘their side’.  We pick the real, up-front cuts, they pick the out-year ones.We pick on domestic discretionary, they pick on military, etc. The Democrat cuts still have to be real and quantifiable.

Why this is a win-win: The Democrats are at least in a 50/50 position on this; WE PICK THE CUTS THAT LOCK IN THE FY 2012 BUDGET WE WANT. It just so happens that $1 trillion is the 10 year impact of about $100 billion in real FY 2012 cuts … which just so happens to be the Ryan/Cut-Cap-Balance FY 2012 spending levels. They can do whatever they want in the out years, it will be dishwater and meaningless. But we will get $1.2 trillion, enough to get what we want for FY 2012.


If Senator Reid balks at this, we have the Boehner 2 stage plan in our hip pocket. Reid wont like it because it puts the double squeeze on his Senators, he’d rather do it in one bite. How can he insist on a 50/50 split being unfair?

This is looking like a Democrat cave on the tax issues, but s happened in the April deal, the devil will be in the details of the ‘cuts’ and conservatives will surely be disappointed if we dont press the point to get good, real cuts and not phony one.  The FAIREST way to get it done and do it quickly enough to get a bill done fast is to give each side 50% of the cuts to specify, and we load in the cuts in cut, cap and balance.

This will be a true “half a loaf” deal, but given that we have only half the Congress, half a loaf is a good step forward.