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Ear to the Ground

Romney’s Party Plays ‘Cut and Blame’

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Posted on Oct 11, 2012
ilovememphis (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Republican legislators called an emergency meeting to hold President Obama accountable for the lax embassy security that they claim led to the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya last month. But the GOP itself has cut funding to protect diplomats around the world.

Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans insist that America can’t afford PBS, though the station pulls “little more than one-hundredth of 1 percent of federal spending.” They call for the elimination of Obamacare, though doing so would increase the budget deficit. They say they’ll cut more than $5 trillion in federal expenses over the next decade. But they fail to say exactly how they’ll do it, says Dana Milbank at The Washington Post. And their proposed tax breaks for the rich, increases in defense spending and their party’s history of reckless spending over the last 30 years require a tremendous leap of faith if their claims are to be taken seriously.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Dana Milbank at The Washington Post:

For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.

Ryan, Issa and other House Republicans voted for an amendment in 2009 to cut $1.2 billion from State operations, including funds for 300 more diplomatic security positions. Under Ryan’s budget, non-defense discretionary spending, which includes State Department funding, would be slashed nearly 20 percent in 2014, which would translate to more than $400 million in additional cuts to embassy security.

… If Romney follows through on the tax cuts he has endorsed, increases defense spending by $2.1 trillion over a decade as promised and maintains Social Security and Medicare as they are for those 55 and older, he’d need to cut everything else government does by nearly a third — or more than $200 billion — in 2016. By 2022, the liberal Center for American Progress calculates, such government functions, including the State Department, would be cut by 53 percent. The $445 million Romney saves by axing PBS will get him less than half of 1 percent of the way toward the budget cuts he would need to make by 2016.

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