Posted by | July 27, 2011 14:48 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

One aspect of the Harry Reid plan for the debt ceiling is to count the winding down of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the spending reduction he is proposing.  Republicans have claimed that these are accounting savings (a matter of opinion) and that they do not count them in their spending reductions (a matter of fact).  Well, guess what,

According to Ryan, his plan never included this savings, but that’s a lie, and a document he just released proves it. When Ryan released his plan, he claimed it would cut either $5.8 or $6.2 trillion, depending which baseline fiscal scenario you compared it against. According to his own proposal, his plan would cut “$6.2 trillion in government spending over the next decade compared to the president’s budget, and $5.8 trillion relative to the current-policy baseline.”

If you look at chart S-4 of the document provided by Ryan’s staff, you’ll see that his $5.8 trillion spending cut includes $1 trillion in savings from the global war on terror—ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here’s the thing: this is an unnecessary lie.  Why not just say that our plan which reduces spending by $5.8 trillion also includes this?  The problem is, when avoiding the truth becomes a habit, it is hard to break.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.