Add another name to the list, this time long-time economic advisor to senior Republican officials, including Trent Lott, Pete Domenici, and George W. Bush, Keith Hennessey.
First I’ll flag what I like about the substance of the bill.
- As initially drafted it would cut spending by $850 B over the next decade. That’s not chump change. I expect this number will soon go up to $900 B – $1 T. Update: New version is $917 B in spending cuts over 10.
- It has statutory discretionary spending caps and a sequester to enforce them.
- It does not raise taxes.
- It raises the debt limit, as we must do.
It also tees up House and Senate floor votes on the Balanced Budget Amendment, but that is not my priority. A BBA would take years to enact, and we cannot wait that long to fix the underlying math problem.
Then he lines up why he supports it, most of which mirror my own non-economist thoughts:
- It cuts spending and it doesn’t raise taxes. That is an improvement over current law.
- There is nothing in the bill that I dislike. That’s a rarity.
- It is better than the Reid bill, which is the next most likely alternative to become law if the Boehner bill fails.
- It tees up this battle again in 4-6 months, providing another opportunity and keeping the pressure on to cut spending.
- It creates a process that keeps our underlying fiscal policy problems front-and-center for the foreseeable future rather than punting them into 2013.
- I can see no viable alternative strategy to enact a stronger bill.
This is, folks, a winning hand. It may not be a royal flush, but it’s still a winner, especially the part about teeing this up again in a few months, when we can get more cuts… and that’ll be that much closer to election day.