Monday, February 21, 2011

A Strategy for Continuing Resolutions: Boil the Frog Slowly

It seems like the Democrats are eager to see the government shut down so they can blame it on the Republicans.  Dick Durban was even so bold as to blatantly lie about Social Security checks being endangered.  (They aren't for existing beneficiaries. New claims will be delayed.) 

Here's a strategy for avoiding a shutdown while getting as much as we can.

Start with a one-week CR that cuts spending across the board by a small figure, say 5 or 10 billion (if the CR were to be extended for the remainder of the fiscal year, which it won't). Democrats surely couldn't reasonably balk at such a modest cut and short horizon.  If they did, it would be pretty clear who was responsible for shutting down the government.

The following week, ratchet that number up by 10 billion. And the next week. And the next. Pretty soon, we'll either have an agreement, or we'll have moved the line of scrimmage into the multiple tens of billions in cuts. And each week, the Democrats will have to choose between an incremental cut and a whole government shutdown.

A lot of Congressmen are jumping out of the boiling water of $100 billion in cuts, Republicans included.  I think we can cook these frogs by slowly and steadily turning up the heat.

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