House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has found his talking point in response to President Biden’s refusal to negotiate over whether the government should default on its debts. “I want to look the president in the eye and [have him] tell me there’s not one dollar of wasteful spending in government,” the California Republican has said. “Who believes that? The American public doesn’t believe that.”
That isn’t really the question — like any large organization, the federal government surely has some waste it could cut — but eliminating wasteful spending wouldn’t get us very far.
So here’s another question: If we wanted to do some budget-cutting — not under the extortionist threat of default, but just because it might be worthwhile — what federal spending do liberals think we could do without?
I reached out to budget experts at a half-dozen liberal think tanks for answers.
Angela Hanks of Demos agreed. “Cuts don’t grow the economy, they don’t feed or house people, and they certainly don’t create more opportunities for communities to thrive,” Hanks told me. “It’s overly simplistic — and wrongheaded economic policy — to simply focus on budget cuts without considering the costs.”