Two Modest Proposals
1: The budget deficit is running at about twenty percent of expenditure. The Republicans think the budget should be balanced. So the obvious compromise is for the administration to agree to cut expenditure for the next year by ten percent, the House to agree to raise the debt ceiling enough to cover the remaining half of the deficit for the next year.
2. Both sides agree to reduce spending by twenty percent, thus eliminating the deficit and the problem. There remains the question, ignored in my first proposal, of how the cuts are to be made—what will be funded by how much. The House gets to allocate half of the revenue, the President gets to allocate the other half, in each case within the limits of the current budget, insofar as there is one. The House can, in other words, decide to give the defense department 100% of its current allocation or 50% but not 110%.
Neither represents my ideal solution, which would be a reduction in government spending of considerably more than 20% with a good many functions receiving an allocation of zero. But both look better than anything we are likely to actually get.