Mark Warner: Time for a “Grand Bargain” on the Budget Deficit


    I mostly agree with Mark Warner on this. The fact is, there is absolutely no way we can tackle the deficit by focusing only, or mostly, on “non-defense discretionary spending.” Nor would we want to cut things like Head Start, Pell Grants, veterans and women’s health programs, funding for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, funding for Metro and other public transit systems, investment in clean energy and high-speed rail, etc, etc. It’s pretty much completely counterproductive to do that, and that’s not where the big money is anyway. Which is why I agree with Mark Warner that we need to tackle entitlements, defense spending, and other major items in the federal budget pie.

    Having said all that, I would continue to point out that extension of the Bush tax cuts for a decade cost $4 trillion.  That’s a major chunk, right there, of the projected budget deficits over that period. To me, as a progressive, it’s absolutely unconscionable – even immoral – to be slashing programs for veterans, children, the environment, clean energy, etc., while we’re continuing the foolish Bush tax cuts.  Now, I understand the “art of the possible” politically, and that there’s basically no chance that Republican’ts will agree to cut the Bush tax cuts. But that’s where the “grand bargain” comes in: you want spending cuts, you’ve also got to roll back the Bush tax cuts.  Then, we can talk about Medicare, Medicaid, and even Social Security (although that program’s really not a part of the problem) – plus military spending, of course. If the Bush tax cuts aren’t part of the “grand bargain?” Then it’s not much of a “bargain,” certainly not “grand,” and almost certainly not worth doing.  

    • We can cut some from discretionary spending. I favor raising SS age to 69 and means testing it and Medicare. But for me, bottom line is half the deficit needs to be made up in higher taxes. Let them shut govt down.


    • Charles Stanton

      are lower today than in the past 60 years.

      We refuse to pay for the government we demand and will never reduce the size of government sufficiently to the current level of taxation.

      Starve the beast and the new American Oligarchy are on full display.

    • KathyinBlacksburg

      Lowell, you and agree on many things (possibly most of the time).  But you have made an indefensible, illogical, and just plain unfair statement here.  Social Security has not contributed ANYTHING to the deficit.  You even admit it isn’t the problem, but you think hatcheting it is OK?  So why target it?  Corporations and the well-heeled just do not want to pay their fair share of FICA.  And for that you are willing to throw Soc Sec under the bus? Social Security is EARNED.  Workers put money into it and their employers reduce wages to contribute their portion.  Employers (and rich boys like Mark Warner) just do not want to pay their part.  So my question, what is happening to Democrats like those commenting on this thread that they would sell their fellow man out so easily and for no reason.  This is tantamount to recommending the stealing of what people have earned.  And it is budgetary opportunism at its worst.  PS overwhelmingly Americans disagree with you, so with this line of argument and possible behavior you will also help sink the Democratic party. Friedmanonomics (trickle down/ needless austerity doesn’t work and is just plain immoral.  

      What ever happened to what made the Democratic Party great?  (And it wasn’t budgetary opportunism.)  

      And as for the commenter below suggesting everyone work till 69, 1) where are the jobs?; 2) downsizing and job discrimination works against that; 3) (duh!) this economy should have illustrated how non-viable that is; 4) spoken by either an elite or someone who hasn’t hit the hard realities that the 401K privatized pension system is a bust for most people.  

      When the average long-term American worker has a 401 k of only around 66-67k and the average American has only 10-11k.  With Wall st decimating Americans, the housing market continuing its debacle, unemployment benefits being curtailed, w/ our manufacturing base likely to never recover, just what do you expect to happen to folks when they have no job, few resources and an inability to file for social security until they are 69.  Or does the commenter just want them to die off?  

      The war waged on the Middle Class, the working poor and poor suggests America has lost her way. And, frankly, Lowell, I am surprised at your comment.  You are better than that.