The lack of sincerity in Washington was palpable today. Over and over again, I could not get a single elected official I spoke to, neither Republican nor Democrat, to give me even one idea for cutting spending right now. Not one.
I made tons of suggestions that could be implemented tomorrow.
Why do we have huge military bases in Japan and Europe? These are just leftovers from another era. There are whole defense projects that the Defense Department doesn't even want.
How about farm subsidies? Ethanol subsidies? Nope.
How about Medicare negotiating with drug companies? Nope. I heard from one pol that the drug companies might move elsewhere. To where? We are the only country that lets them gouge us. I heard that the drug companies wouldn't feel compelled to spend money to develop new drugs. I wanted to scream -- did you ever hear about patent cliffs?
The Republicans were absolutely no better than the Democrats. In fact, they were worse. When I stipulated that I am not interested in talking about raising revenues because they say over and over that the issue is spending, they still talked about raising revenues. When I insisted that they talk about what they say they insisted on talking about, they wouldn't. They simply wouldn't.
I could never get away with that level of hypocrisy.
I came away thinking that there is nothing the Republicans won't do to be sure that the 2% don't pay more, including throw people out of work and make everyone else pay, which is what's going to happen if they don't compromise.
And the president? He has no serious plan to cut spending either -- but at least he is willing to give something that helps balance the budget.
I am going to repeat this so it is really clear: NO Republican offered me anything to cut spending in the near-term. Not one.
If you are serious about spending cuts, you have to be able to offer one.
My conclusion: Republicans aren't any more serious than Democrats are, but at least the Democrats are asking someone to help solve the deficit, the cohort that got the big break on taxes when things weren't so hot.