My new piece,
, is about the gingerly manner in which Republicans are approaching the budget fight. Yesterday, they would not get specific about the deep cuts they have acknowledged they favor. But they're only dodging for now -- they see an opportunity coming toward them. Witness Paul Ryan yesterday:
"You can see that we have a tidal wave of debt," said Ryan, pointing to a chart titled "Tidal Wave of Debt." "The president's budget, as you can see right here, doubles the debt within five years of taking office and triples in within 10 years."
This is true. The Obama budget—which Ryan described as "debt on arrival" in the Republican House—scales down the ambitious spending of the last two fiscal years. It cuts the deficit as a percentage of GDP from 10.9 percent to 7 percent, then to roughly 3 percent by the start of the next decade. Over 10 years, it cuts one percent of spending. It never balances the budget. It doesn't tackle entitlements.
"Anybody who knows anything about me knows we have to tackle entitlements or they're going to tackle us," said Ryan.
TODAY IN SLATE
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The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney
Or at least trade it for something.
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An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.