The Reid Plan: Humilation Accomplished

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 27 2011 10:56 AM

The Reid Plan: Humilation Accomplished

The CBO score of Harry Reid's debt plan tells us just what a brilliant casserole of gimmicks the Democrats have come up with. They were crafted to get this headline, and they succeeded.

Reid savings trumps Boehner plan
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When we talk about gimmicks, we should note that the big knock against Reid is that his plan counts expected savings from the drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that's how he gets to $2.2 trillion of cuts over 10 years. (That's $500 billion less than promised, the big weakness here.) But CBO scores the plan as cutting $24 billion in FY2012 without even getting into the war funding. That's $23 billion more than the Boehner plan cut in FY2012.

What's the problem? Well... this plan was supposed to come out after Boehner's plan. Democrats could wave it around and show that it was comparable, in terms of cuts, to what Boehner proposed, so if Boehner failed, they were ready. Now, the plan's coming out as Boehner's team crafts an alternate plan, which will be scored again, and which can contain deeper cuts. The big PR advantage of the Reid plan will be fleeting.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.