What to do about the economic ditch the Republicans have driven the economy into?
Campaign aides to Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and Mitt Romney advocate finding a bigger ditch and hitting the gas pedal sooner and harder.
No, seriously: Jon Huntsman’s economics advisor, a woman with years of experience working for a balanced budget, suggested that Paul’s proposal of cutting $1 trillion from spending in 2013 lacks a great connection to reality. Aides to the other three, after taking another toke of godknowswhat, said they could do even more cutting.
It’s as if General Washington’s physicians, interviewed December 15, 1799, claimed they could have saved Washington’s life had they bled him two or three more times — but unfortunately, he was out of blood.
At a Wednesday panel discussion hosted by the America’s Future Foundation, a club of young libertarians and conservatives in Washington who meet regularly over beer to network and debate about politics, Jennifer Pollom, Huntsman’s economic director, joined campaign aides for Gary Johnson, Ron Paul and a former Mitt Romney staffer to discuss why their candidate would best represent conservatives as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. The real fun (by D.C. standards) started when Jack Hunter, a blogger for Paul’s presidential campaign, touted his boss’s promise to slash $1 trillion from the federal budget.
“Having been on the Budget Committee and having worked in the federal government and in the Senate for quite a while, I think a trillion dollars is kind of ludicrous,” said Pollom, who formerly served as the counsel for the Senate Republican Policy Committee. “That’s my personal opinion, that is not the stance of Governor Huntsman. We’re more concerned about tax policy right now. We’re deeply concerned about the deficit and the debt, but we’re more concerned about jobs and freezing spending where it is right now.”
That didn’t play well with the representatives for Johnson and Paul, two of the most libertarian-leaning candidates in the race. (Johnson’s plan goes further than Paul’s. He has vowed to balance the budget in his first year, which would require cutting even more than $1 trillion.)
“To call that ludicrous is actually a little surprising because this idea that we can year after year continue to spend more money than we’re taking in, to me that actually seems to be the pretty ludicrous idea from a fiscally conservative perspective,” said panelist Jonathan Bydlak, the finance director for Johnson’s campaign.
“I personally think that cutting a trillion dollars in one year off the budget–I use ‘ludicrous’ sort of loosely–but I don’t think it’s practical,” Pollom said later during the panel. “It may be an excellent aspirational dream but speaking in the real world, I don’t know that it’s actually practically going to happen.”
That’s when Derek Khanna, a panelist who worked for Mitt Romney’s finance team in 2008, jumped in.
“The idea of one trillion is not ludicrous,” Khanna said, which prompted Pollom to put her finger to her head like she was pulling the trigger of a gun. “I think that the idea of saying that being able to balance the budget is ‘ludicrous’ is kind of disturbing. We’re all here saying we support the balanced-budget amendment, but in the end we won’t support cutting a trillion dollars. It seems to be a bit disingenuous.”
What in the world could these stooges be referring to in cutting? I can see it now: ‘What do we need Homeland Security for, anyway? FAA doesn’t fly any airplanes — what could possibly happen if we just shut the agency down tomorrow? Surely we don’t need more than one aircraft carrier, one for the Pacific, and one for the Atlantic — we don’t have any territory in the Southern, Indian, or Arctic Oceans.’
You can almost hear Ron Paul, wide-eyed, explaining: ‘President Obama is hurting the energy industry. BP found a way to quickly get millions of barrels of oil out of ground under the Gulf of Mexico, oil we need to run industry — but Obama made them stop!’
In other news, perhaps, The Onion is considering closing down — they can’t parody this stuff any more.