Max Baucus’s budget plan? Really?

In an op-ed printed in a newspaper in Helena, in his home state of Montana, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D) came up with some stunning suggestions on reducing the budget deficit.

Here are the big ideas of the top tax law writer in the Senate:

1.    Stop erroneous tax refunds for prisoners
  
2.    Cut aid to Iraq, which is running a budget surplus
   
3.    Cut aid to Pakistan, which hasn’t spent last year’s aid
   
4.    Limit the number of government employee credit cards
   
5.    Cut unneeded Census funding
   
6.    Carry out the Defense Department’s plan to reduce reorganization funding
   
7.    Make NASA deliver on existing projects before funding new programs
   
8.    Cut millions of dollars for rehabilitating lakes in the desert
   
9.    Eliminate the duplicative federal agency that focuses on development for Alaska only
   
10.    Eliminate high-speed rail funding for East Coast cities


Really, Max? You are going to eliminate a $1,650,000,000,000 budget deficit by stopping erroneous tax refunds to prisoners and not giving out as many government employee credit cards?  

Unless you are referring to Timothy Geithner’s credit card, with a $50 billion limit to bail out too-big-to-fail financial institutions, I don’t think that is going to get us anywhere.

Looking at the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s list makes it obvious that he has no plan for reducing the budget deficit. What he has is bumper-sticker rhetoric that, if fully implemented, might cut the budget deficit less than 2 percent.

It is reasonable to conclude that the Senate Democrat charged with writing our nation’s tax laws, a man who is viewed by some as the linchpin to getting a budget deal completed between the House and the Senate, is one of three things:

1.    Completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task at hand
   
2.    Grossly and willfully negligent
   
3.    An ostrich
   
When you read Max’s top 10, contrast that to House Republicans, who have buried themselves in the federal government budget, trying to find real cost savings, and bit the bullet to pass a CR that cuts $61 billion. Contrast Baucus’s “plan” with the balanced-budget amendment that is being developed by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), which if passed by the Congress and 37 states would force the U.S. government on a glide path to a balanced budget within five years.

At a time when America is looking for leadership, Max Baucus offers cutting up some government employee credit cards.  

No wonder our nation is in trouble.


Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government. In keeping with Max Baucus’s deficit plan, he plans to wander the streets of D.C. cutting up random federal employee credit cards until the $1.65 trillion is saved. He can be followed on twitter @rmanning957.