The secret spending-cut plans

THE SECRET SPENDING-CUT PLANS…. Freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has a budget plan that features more than $500 billion in spending cuts. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) thinks that’s a great idea.

“I think we could do it,” he says. “It’s entirely possible.”

For the time being, Coburn acknowledges that the plan may not be politically viable. He is also still reviewing the document. But he applauds the Kentucky freshman’s verve.

“I could give you $350 billion worth of cuts tomorrow that nobody would miss,” Coburn says.

I feel like this kind of rhetoric is fairly common on the right. “Spending cuts are easy,” they say. “I can come up with a plan to slash spending in such a way that wouldn’t cause massive pain.”

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ran around saying he could cut federal spending by $160 billion without breaking a sweat. When pressed, he’d say, “Is there any American that doesn’t believe that there’s tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars that can be saved?”

But that wasn’t an answer, and neither is Coburn’s assurance that he could cut $350 billion that “nobody” would even “miss” it.

Unless their magical spending plans need to be kept secret, maybe these budget visionaries could do a little follow through? If it’s so easy, perhaps they could be so gracious as to share their wisdom with the rest of us?

Otherwise, some of us might be inclined to think these guys talk a good game, but can’t back up their rhetoric with anything substantive.