Imagine you are in congress. Public pressure to cut the budget has grown so strong that the leadership of both parties has decided to actually at on it. Not with reductions of planned future increases, but with actual cuts. A special bi-partisan committee has been assembled, with the membership equally divided between the two parties. In order to keep argument to a minimum, the co-chairs have established one rule.
You can only suggest cuts to programs you support.
The theory is each party would support cutting the other party’s programs, and all it takes is one person to break ranks to get a majority in favor of cutting a program.
So, what program will you offer up to the chopping block?
It is a very difficult question for many people. The test was to see if Republicans would be willing to sacrifice any aspect of their many and multitudinous wars, or if Democrats would be willing to sacrifice any entitlement giveaway program. After all, the question was designed to eliminate any partisan cuts, cutting the programs of "the other guy."
The results were not encouraging. There was only one program that achieved any sort of consensus for cutting, and that was NASA. Strangely enough, both sides claimed it as one of the programs favored by "their side," and both sides were willing to put it on the chopping block.
There was no touching of the real budget eaters, the wars or Social Security and Medicare. Yes, every little bit helps, but the cuts that would help the most were left out.
When faced with a hypothetical scenario, partisans who aren’t elected to any office, with comments that would have no impact on the real world, were unwilling to admit that the real consumers of the budget should be cut. How much worse can it be for those in congress who will be voting on actual budgets and are locked in to special interests who forbid any cuts to their particular programs? If thinking people cannot even make hypothetical cuts, politicians cannot make any cuts.