How smart are they?
With the 2011 deficit projected to top $1.3 trillion, a spokesman for Rand Paul, the Tea Party-backed Senate candidate in Kentucky, told the Daily Beast's Benjamin Sarlin that Paul "will vote against and filibuster any unbalanced budget proposal in the Senate." "I personally think a balanced budget is imperative and I think there's tremendous support for a balanced budget," said Mark Meckler, a spokesman for the Tea Party Patriots, told Sarlin.
The only way to close a trillion-dollar budget deficit is to raise taxes or cut spending by a trillion dollars. Since there is no appetite among conservatives to raise taxes, that means more than 25 percent of the budget, in 2011.
Most conservatives would begin by canceling the stimulus, which is still expected to spend about $100 billion in 2011.
Conservatives might also call for freezing public salaries, canceling TARP, freezing discretionary spending at 2008 levels, and beginning to phase in Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to cut $1.3 trillion over the next decade. Let's say that saves another $100-$150
billion in 2011.
You're still more than $1 trillion away from a balanced budget.
You could cancel Social Security for the year ($700 billion) and stop paying every soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq (another $170 billion in proposed spending), and you still wouldn't have a balanced budget.
Rudy Penner, CBO chief under President Reagan, called a balanced budget "implausible." Coming from a movement that considers itself overtaxed, I'd say that's putting things lightly.
The good thing, they'll be sitting in their own sinking boat 15 years from now, long before my sons will be affected, with more than enough time to set the course right again with some hope.