Thursday, July 28, 2011

Your Moment of Wonkery

Ezra Klein explains the differences between the two debt ceiling plans being battered about on Capitol Hill.

Both the Reid and Boehner plans cut about $850 billion in discretionary spending. The major difference — at least in terms of immediate cuts — is that Reid’s plan tells the Congressional Budget Office that he’s winding down the wars, which nets him $1 trillion, while Boehner doesn’t say anything about the wars. But this isn’t a policy difference between the two men. Boehner’s office calls that $1 trillion “war money that would never have been spent.”


And so here’s the bottom line: If we use the Democrats’ package, Boehner’s dollar-for-dollar demand is met. If we use Boehner’s package, the plan is about $1.5 trillion short of meeting the dollar-for-dollar requirement, and thus Republicans can demand more cuts and concessions. But the specific cuts that will happen if we implement the first round of the two packages are pretty much the same.

And please, let this be the only context in which we discuss “Boehner’s package” without inducing an involuntary gag reflex.