It is important to cut waste, but cutting waste is not enough. If the public is encouraged to believe that discretionary spending is the main problem — and cutting it is the real answer — there will never be adequate political support for the tough decisions ahead.
I think the Times is dead on. Discretionary spending is not the problem. And allowing an executive to make largely cosmetic cuts just lets governments paper over the structural problems in the budget. In our case, those are entitlements. We need to make real strides toward putting the budget on a sustainable path. This is largely window-dressing.
Jonathan Bernstein, guesting for Ezra Klein, has an even less charitable take.