Kent Conrad’s Gang Of Six Is Still All Talk With Few Details
Yesterday it appeared as though Senator Kent “deficit hawk” Conrad scored a victory on budget negotiations after months of flailing about and attempting to appear relevant to the proceedings. A budget compromise was outlined by his “Gang of Six” (with Senator Tom Coburn re-joining the group to back it) and the deal was immediately praised by President Obama.
The problem? Much like Senator Conrad’s earlier budget pronouncements, this one too is all talk and not a lot of detail.
The Gang of Six deficit reduction plan introduced today promises $3.7 trillion in cuts over 10 years. Only $500 billion of those cuts, however, would be made immediately as part of a bill to raise the debt limit.
The rest are guidelines for congressional committees to take up later this year, with no guarantee they will remain in their current form, or provide the level of deficit reduction advertised.
“There is not a final agreement on the gang of six plan – rather an agreement on a framework for what could become a plan,” Max Gleischman, a spokesman for Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), told Business Insider. Tax reform “will not be part of a deal to get us through the August 2nd deadline,” he added.
You can read the executive summary of the Gang of Six plan below, but the vagueness of this plan is exactly why it should be rejected.
One trick often played in Washington DC is to pass budgets that promise billions or trillions of dollars in spending cuts over the course of a decade, but those cuts are scheduled for later in the decade and are often left out of future budgets Congress makes.
What Americans should be concerning themselves with is what sort of deficit reduction will be put in place immediately. Because whatever promises Congress makes for future measures probably won’t materialize if history is our guide.