Many critics of the aggressive Republican-driven cuts to federal discretionary spending have said the austerity measures ignore the biggest parts of the U.S. budget, defense and entitlements.
Michael Kinsley, the liberal writer, can always be counted on for a good, biting contrarian view and he has one on this issue.
He writes in Politico.com:
It's also true, but unconvincing, that the whole budget debate is focusing on the smallest part of federal spending — discretionary spending — and ignoring the big bucks, which are in inexorably rising health care costs. Given all past experience, a perfectly adequate reaction to the Obama administration's claims that health care reform will save the government money is, "I'll believe it when I see it." But that is no reason not to show more discipline on smaller matters. Every little bit helps.
Even if some government program is proved to be effective, that is not a good enough reason to protect it. Is it more effective than other uses of the money — including leaving it in taxpayers' pockets? We are still a rich country and can afford to finance a high school essay contest on peace — or any other luxury — if we're willing to pay for it.