Carly Fiornia Won’t Say Where She’d Cut The Federal Budget
Yesterday's appearance by Carly Fiorina on Fox News Sunday provided an excellent example of how un-serious Republicans are when it comes to living up to their fiscally conservative rhetoric.
For anyone who believes that fiscal conservatism is more important than party loyalty, yesterday’s appearance by GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina on Fox News Sunday was incredibly frustrating. Asked by Chris Wallace seven separate times where she’d come up with the budget cuts necessary to cut the deficit, Fiorina consistently refused to answer:
WALLACE: You’re campaigning and you just alluded to it, to your record as a tough, bottom line, former business executive. But you want to extend all the Bush tax cuts which would add 4 trillion to the deficit. You say balance the budget by cutting spending. Question, as a bottom line businesswoman, where are you going to find $4 trillion to cut?
FIORINA: …We don’t know how taxpayer money is spent in Washington, D.C, which is why I think we ought to put every agency budget up on the internet for everyone to see, ban earmarks, and we ought to give citizens the opportunity to desginate up to 10% of their federal income tax toward debt reduction. If we did, that we would reduce our debt by $95 billion a year.
WALLACE: Miss Fiorina, the traditional ways that people talk about non-discretionary – I mean discretionary, non-defense spending is only 16% of the budget. You could cut all of that out, all for education and energy, and for police support and government worker support around the country, it wouldn’t be anywhere close to $4 trillion. Where are you going to get that kind of money if you extend all of the bust era tax cuts. That only adds to the deficit. It doesn’t even deal with the deficit we already have.
FIORINA: Well, of course, first the thing we need to do, to deal with our debt and our deficit is to both cut spending and grow the economy. That’s fundamentally what we have to do. Those tax cuts are central to growing the economy. Indeed, I would argue there are some additional tax cuts we need to make.[…]
WALLACE: Miss Fiorina, let me ask you a specific question because I still haven’t gotten many specifics on how you will cut $4 trillion and more out of the budget. Back when there was talk about a non-partisan, or a bipartisan deficit, debt commission you blasted that idea in January and said we know all the solutions. We don’t need another commission to study it. Now…you tell me specifically what are you going to do to cut the billions, the trillions of dollars in entitlements?
FIORINA: First, I didn’t blast the commission saying we already had solutions. I blasted the commission because I believed it was a feint for tax increases.[…]
WALLACE: But forgive me, Miss Fiorina, where are you going to cut entitlements? What benefits are you going to cut? What eligibility are you doing..
FIORINA: Chris, I have to say, with all due respect, you’re asking a typical political question.[…]
WALLACE: It may be a typical political question but that’s where the money is. The money is in Medicare and Social Security. We have baby-boomers coming. There will be a huge explosion of entitlement explosion and you call it a political question when I ask you to name one single entitlement you are willing to cut.
FIORINA: Chris, I believe to deal with entitlement reform, which we must deal with, we ought to put every possible solution on the table, except we should be very clear we are not going to cut benefits to those nearing retirement or those nearing retirement or those in retirement.[…]
WALLACE: I’m going to try one last time, and if you don’t want to answer it, Miss Fiorina, you don’t have to.
FIORINA: It’s not a question of not wanting to answer it!
WALLACE: Let me ask the question, if I may, please. You’re not willing to put forward a single benefit – I’m not talking about the people 60 or let alone 65, or 70. I’m talking about people under 55. You’re not willing to say there is a single benefit eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security that you are willing to say “Yeah, I would cut that?”
FIORINA: What I think we need to do to engage the American people in a conversation about entitlement reform is to have a bipartisan group of people who come together and put every solution on the table, every alternative on the table. Then we ought to engage in a long conversation with the American people so they understand the choices.
These are the same platitudes we’ve heard from Republicans before. Ask them how they’ll balance the budget and they go off on a five minute discussion about “government waste,” a topic that’s been on the plate in Washington since President Reagan established the Grace Commission in the 1980s. The problem is that a few hundred million dollars in waste in a two trillion dollar budget are like a raindrop in a monsoon. They’re meaningless. Never do you hear Republicans talk about cutting defense spending, and bring up entitlement reform and they revert to the same meaningless platitudes that Fiorina frustrated Wallace with in the interview above.
If this is what Republicans have in store for us after 2011, then it is clearly just going to be more of the same.