As the August 3rd deadline to either raise the federal debt ceiling or submit to our Chinese masters nigh approaches, Mitch McConnell has proposed a new solution: Congress could authorize President Obama to increase the borrowing limit himself. The Senate Minority Leader suggested that the President be given the authority to allow an additional $2.4 trillion in debt over the next year, provided he specifies an equal amount in spending cuts. It’s an odd move, given that negotiations have foundered for weeks on Republican demands that the President agree to cuts before the ceiling is raised. Unless you are a Republican, in which case negotiations have foundered on the President’s insistence that 25% of the increase be covered by taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
In the wake of last week’s report from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—and the cascade of agreements with all the fiscal responsibility proposed therein, except for cuts to defense, social security, Medicare and most tax exemptions—the New York Times has produced this fun puzzle. It invites readers to construct their own balanced federal budgets by adopting or declining a series of cuts, including to foreign and state aid, federal workforces and defense. You can see my own personal Keynesian, soak-the-rich plan here. It balances the budget mostly by returning tax rates to Clinton-era levels and getting the fudge out of Central Asia/space, and it preserves Medicare and farm subsidies. Apparently I am some sort of secret communist, which is why I encourage you to make a budget of your own. Either that or you could rail passionately against every spending cut you can think of, plus tax increases of any sort, while simultaneously demanding a balanced budget immediately. Just put on your American flag shirt and yell directly at the numbers.