Is GOP Overplaying Shutdown Card?

by Matthew Glans on April 6, 2011

With politicians in Washington maneuvering to complete a new federal budget, many outside the Beltway are left wondering if the budget stalemate, which has made the possibility of a government shutdown increasingly likely, is avoidable. Both Democrats and Republicans claim to want to avoid a shutdown, but neither side is willing to take steps to reach a compromise deal.

In a new piece recently published in the Frum Forum, Eli Lehrer argues that while the Republicans efforts to cut spending have seen some areas of success, they may have peaked too early. Lehrer believes that the real battle lies in entitlement reform, and that Republicans should save the shutdown hardball for that fight.

Eli’s article, “Is GOP Overplaying Shutdown Card?” was published April 7 in the Frum Forum and is reprinted below.

Is GOP Overplaying Shutdown Card?
By Eli Lehrer
April 5th, 2011

Threatening to shut down the government over spending is certainly an effective, if drastic, measure. In principle, its good–even admirable–that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are refusing to play the Democrats game and accept a budget deal with modest rather than drastic cuts even though the issue of principle (real spending reductions) has already been won.

That said, there’s a real risk that a shutdown now–over non-mandatory spending–will play the GOP’s highest card too early. The country’s real fiscal problems don’t stem from the 15 percent of the budget devoted to domestic discretionary spending but, rather, from entitlement and defense spending.  The best bet: declare victory on domestic discretionary spending now and save the shutdown card for the real battle over entitlements.

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