Romney Runs from Spending Cuts

Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

According to the Associated Press, Mitt Romney supports postponing the sequestration cuts scheduled for January 2, 2013 by at least one year:

The Republican presidential contender said Friday during a campaign trip to Las Vegas that the cuts would be “terrible,” particularly for the military.

Congress approved the cuts as part of a deal to reduce the deficit. They were designed to help lawmakers come up with a better plan. But that didn’t happen — so the cuts are scheduled to go into effect next year.

Romney says he wants President Barack Obama and lawmakers to work together to put, in his words, “a year’s runway,” in place to give the next president time to reform the tax system and ensure the military’s needs are met.

In other words, Romney’s position on sequestration is no different than the rest of the spendthrifts in Washington.

Romney’s punt coincides with the enactment of legislation that requires the White House to detail precisely what it would cut in January. The Office of Management and Budget has 30 days to release the report. The idea originated with congressional Republicans who relish the opportunity to get the president on record for proposing cuts to military spending. Democrats went along after the bill was changed to include provisions that force the White House to spell out cuts to domestic programs. The goal for both parties is to get the various special interests and their accomplices in the media to go bonkers when the report is released.

According to Politico, Romney – at the prompting of fellow Republicans – is apparently content to continue campaigning against excessive spending and deficits under Obama while offering few specifics on what he would cut to rein in the federal government:

“It’s going to be a hell of a Labor Day,” said Jim Dyer, a former GOP staff director to the House Appropriations Committee, estimating the date the White House Office of Management and Budget will issue its report that details programs and projects targeted for cuts on Jan. 2, 2013. “You put specifics out there, and each cut is a story unto itself. It’s an unenviable position to be in.”

That’s precisely why many Republicans are urging Mitt Romney to avoid specifics on which programs he’d slash as the campaign season heads into its final stretch.

“Why would you want to go out on a limb and say, ‘I’m for this and this and this specific thing?’” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “You ought to do like [Ronald] Reagan did, if you want to be president of the United States, have a few big things and talk about them.”

That’s sage advice from Senator Grassley – a career politician whose profiles in courage credentials include fattening the wallets of Iowa corn farmers (including his own) with taxpayer handouts.

 
 


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