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In an apparent bid to appear like a principled Independent, or something, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has signed up with Republican Senators Bob Corker (TN) and Mark Kirk (IL) on a radical (and "lazy" and "unrealistic") spending cuts bill.

...“Cutting trillions of dollars from the federal budget in the coming years won’t be easy or painless; it will require backbone and discipline,” Corker said in a press release. “This is a bold step,” added McCaskill.

The plan, however, proves that McCaskill and Corker are nothing more than deficit peacocks: willing to score political points by assuring everyone how very serious they are about addressing the deficit, but not actually doing any of the work that serious budgeting requires.

All the Corker-McCaskill plan entails is a cap on overall government spending at 20.6 percent of GDP.  But how will we get from the current 24 percent of GDP down below the cap? McCaskill and Corker don’t lay out any ideas! Perhaps that’s because actually adhering to the cap would require massive cuts in Social Security and Medicare or else draconian gutting of the rest of the budget, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted.

In fact, McCaskill and Corker’s cap would actually hold federal spending below the level at which it was under President Reagan, even though there are now tens of millions more seniors reliant on Social Security and Medicare than there were in the 1980′s. As CAP Senior Fellow Matt Miller wrote, “as a matter of math, if you run the government at a smaller level than did Ronald Reagan while accommodating this massive increase in the number of seniors on our health and pension programs, you have to decimate the rest of the budget.”

McCaskill touts it, and her involvement with it:

"This is a bold step; it has risks. If this bill is distorted and twisted, it could cost me my Senate seat," McCaskill said on the Senate floor.

"But it's a price I'm willing to pay for my country. And it's a price I'm willing to pay for my grandchildren," she said.

I'm sure McCaskill's grandchildren will really appreciate it when they have to figure out how to support not only their own families, but take on caring for her in her dotage. What a great gift to them.

McCaskill might see this misguided veer to the far right as the key to her re-election so that Missourians essentially have two Republicans to choose from in 2012. Somehow, I don't think that's going to work out so well for her. And if the Senate actually ends up having to negotiate Social Security, could not work out well for the rest of the country, since the Republicans will have a committed stooge bipartisan helper in their camp.

(H/T standingup)

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 09:35 AM PST.

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