Republicans demand "entitlement reform," which is often their code phrase for long-sought policy changes they favor for ideological reasons -- including privatization and thus a huge reduction in guaranteed benefits paid by government. Democrats do not want that sort of "reform" and are not eager to slash the social safety net any further.
In the past few days, Democrats in the Senate have been working on a package of spending cuts that is actually larger than the $900 Billion in discretionary spending cuts offered in the latest plan pushed by the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. This is because Senator Harry Reid's plan pockets $1.3 Trillion in anticipated security-sector savings from the troop reductions in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is over a decade and includes future debt service related to the spending.
Earlier this week, I read a book review by Joseph Cirincione that outlined a potential additional source of $300 billion in savings. A nuclear freeze, which would only be a baby step toward President Obama's call for "global zero," would create these big savings:
Pentagon programs...will spend $300 billion over the next decade on the very [nuclear] weapons Obama says he wants to make less relevant.I've often blogged about the need to include defense cuts in any deficit-reduction package. In addition to the concrete savings from de-escalation in Iraq and Afghanistan, why not pocket some money by stopping the development of new nuclear weapons?
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