Yesterday, during the daily White House press briefing, Jay Carney was asked where the administration is on spending cuts.
One of the reporters asked him: “Are you prepared to offer more? Today you have a letter from CEOs urging that spending cuts, entitlement adjustments and so forth be a multiple -- a greater multiple than revenues. Is the White House prepared to do more on that front?”
Jay does a terrific job as the President’s White House Press Secretary. He’s nobody’s fool. The WH Press Corps shouldn’t be too cozy with any administration and it shouldn’t manufacture controversy when there is none. Here’s how he answered the question about spending.
“ The President, unlike any other party to these negotiations, has put forward detailed spending cuts as well as detailed revenue proposals . . . This is the document that contains the specific spending cuts. The Speaker of the House sent us a proposal that was two pages long that included one sentence on revenue. The proposal here includes, I believe, from pages 17 to 45, details on proposed spending cuts by the President -- pages 17 to 45. I recommend them to you.”
What's missing from the written quote is the hint of a sneer that came and went across Carney's face a couple of times as he answered. (The video should stop itself after playing for the first 2:43. If it doesn't, feel free to stop it from continuing for its entire duration, if you wish.)
The President’s plan offers $ 4 Trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.
• Almost half of it, $1.9 trillion, would come from raising taxes on income over $250,000, including ordinary income, dividends and capital gains. Estate taxes and income from foreign sources would also be affected.
• A reduction in Overseas Contingency Operations would produce the largest spending cut (with an asterisk.)
• A reduction in Medicare and Medicaid spending would be made possible with a comprehensive package of cost control measures that would affect providers, including pharmaceuticals.
• The Budget Control Act’s mandated $1 trillion in spending cuts would remain in place with half, $550 billion coming from defense. The remainder would be totaled by trimming a wide variety of discretionary spending programs.
• Offsetting the deficit reductions measures, there would be $528 billion in additional spending to extend the tax credit for student expenses, the Earned Income Credit, extension of unemployment benefits, extension of the payroll tax reduction, and other breaks targeted to middle and lower income earners.
• Lastly, there is funding for the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs. Most of its funding is carved out of savings in Overseas Contingency Operations, the asterisk above. Instead of neo-con foreign adventures, the US would concentrate on nation-building (or rebuilding) at home. Maintenance and repairs on bridges, funds for light rail and subways in the cities, and high speed rail on the East and West Coast would be funded by moving transportation from the discretionary to the mandatory side of the budget.
Question: And for that, you're counting the $1 trillion from the Budget Act and the savings from --
Jay Carney: Everyone is counting the $1 trillion from the Budget Act because it should be counted. Let's go back, again, on the spending cuts: While we have yet to see a single specific proposal from Republicans on revenues, the President has signed into law -- law of the land -- $1 trillion in spending cuts, and he has proposed additional specific spending cuts as part of this document that I showed you. So, absolutely.
Numbers on paper aren't easy for Republicans to digest. Even with the minute details included in a 45 page document they continue to ask for the President's plan.