Opinion: Why it’s hard to believe Jon Ossoff will cut spending in Washington

I have to admit, when I first heard Democrat Jon Ossoff was basing part of his campaign in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on cutting $16 billion in wasteful and redundant federal programs, my first thought was: “Not bad … in which agency?”

Then I realized he was talking about the entire federal government.

You know, the federal government that will spend about 250 times that amount this year alone.

Jon Ossoff (AJC Photo / Bob Andres)

OK, you might say, but we’ve got to start cutting somewhere, right? And I might agree. But let’s now consider just how likely it is that a 30-year-old who’s trying to get elected with millions of dollars raised by Nancy Pelosi and left-wing activists from outside Georgia would fulfill such a promise.

A good place to start evaluating that question is the reaction from Pelosi’s Democrats to the spending bill Congress recently finalized. That spending bill, which covers only discretionary programs, comes to $1.07 trillion. President Donald Trump had called for cutting these programs by $18 billion. That’s hardly draconian, but it’s a bit more than Ossoff’s figure.

Instead, discretionary spending will grow by $3 billion over last year. Why? Because Democrats took advantage of a divided GOP caucus — a dreary subject for another day — to demand certain items in exchange for their votes. Items such as:

  • no cuts to Obamacare’s “Cost Sharing Reduction” subsidies, which come to about $10 billion;
  • no cuts to Community Development Block Grants, which run another $3 billion;
  • a $2 billion boost for the National Institutes of Health;
  • continued funding for Planned Parenthood, which collects more than $500 million;
  • a Medicaid bailout for Puerto Rico, with a price tag of $296 million;
  • a reduced cut for the Environmental Protection Agency, which keeps $190 million in place;
  • $100 million for California’s beleaguered boondoggle of a high-speed rail project;

Altogether, that’s $16 billion in specific spending Ossoff’s Democrats demanded this year. That doesn’t include some $27 billion in federal spending that goes to so-called sanctuary cities, which the Trump administration wants to cut. Language to allow such cuts was left out of the newly approved bill.

Nor does it include the vast majority of continued funding for all of Obamacare, which Ossoff wants to keep intact. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the original version of the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s repeal-and-replace bill, would reduce annual budget deficits by an average of more than $33 billion over the next 10 years (although an updated score for the version that passed the House on Thursday was not yet available).

There’s a theme here. The caucus Ossoff would join in Washington is never in favor of actually reducing spending. Even when D.C. Democrats can find certain items they’re willing to cut, those are usually intended as down payments on far larger spending increases elsewhere. Not to be returned to taxpayers in the way of tax cuts, to name one possibility, or to reduce federal borrowing, to name another.

When you raise $8 million (and counting) for a campaign, you can afford to poll-test some messages. And it’s clear the Ossoff campaign learned voters in the 6th District traditionally vote for Republicans because they favor traditionally Republican policies.

The question is why those voters would count on a Democrat, boosted by those who favor traditionally Democratic policies, to deliver what they want.

Reader Comments 0

303 comments
Habrams01
Habrams01

 Interesting that there is so much supposition, non-verifiable information and innuendo in the below comments.  None relate to the content of Mr. Wingfield's article which doesn't even note that Osoff would be ONE of FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE members of the House of Representatives.  The likelihood that Osoff could effect anything more than being able to find a seat/office is the reality.  Mr. Wingfield's article is to the point with verifiable facts and I was pleased to read it.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@JohnnyR --


There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.



Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

"A former White House ethics adviser says that a sales pitch by Jared Kushner's sister to potential Chinese investors that was centered on a controversial visa program came 'very, very close to solicitation of a bribe.' 'This is corruption, pure and simple,' said Richard Painter, who was an attorney for President George W. Bush and is now a University of Minnesota law professor. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar

Jared Kushner's sister.....there's your sign of more LibProg desperation.

You guys just can't face that when the music stopped you had no chair.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb

Which record is that?

If a law was broken, there will be a prosecution.

Is there a prosecution?  Official legal charges?

Or is this another leap by the Left trying to catch the ring.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@JohnnyReb @Hedley_Lammar  Hedley, doesn't understand what "close" or "hard" means in the context of law. One could say something like I came close to punching that xxxxxx. Just coming close won't get an indictment for assault. A prosecutor could say I think that he committed the crime. But without hard evidence just thinking someone committed a crime won't result in an indictment.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

FBI Director James Comey erroneously told Congress last week that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin forwarded "hundreds and thousands" of emails to her husband's laptop -- and the bureau is looking for a way to clean up his error, according to officials familiar with the matter.


Just an honest mistake im sure.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar

All it takes is one secret doc forwarded to Carlos Danger and its a felony.

More than one, one more felony, etc.

So Comey misspeaking as to the number is nothing in the overall scheme.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb

You can't prove 3 million illegals did not vote just like Trump has no evidence they did.

The only difference, you look/sound more ridiculous.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb @Hedley_Lammar You can't prove 3 million illegals did not vote


Umm yes I can


And if you knew anything you would know the burden of proof isnt on the skeptic. Its on the person making outlandish claims. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb

The difference between our views are, you want Trump to never state anything but exacts.

If he is not exactly correct, you discount what he says.

Trump supporters accept his hyperbole in certain situations, as was the case of him commenting on the popular vote.

He said 3 million.  No one knows how many.

But we like him are convinced a huge number of illegals voted.

We just don't have the exact proof.

BTW, I saw a piece just today, don't recall where, on growing evidence of more and more voter fraud.

breckenridge
breckenridge

So Trump's military advisers want to send more troops to Afghanistan.  Now there's another multi-million dollar horrible idea.  We need to get the heck out of there and quit wasting taxpayer dollars.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@breckenridge The guy who got 5 deferments from Vietnam because of bad feet has to look tough. When in fact he is just a trust fund baby.


This is a guy who called all the STD's he got in the 70's his own personal Vietnam. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@breckenridge

Have you submitted your resume to Trump or the Defense Department?

I mean if we take you on face value you are a genius on military strategy and the Afghan war.

fktrump
fktrump

Someone tell me one thing about Handel's experience that qualifies her to represent the 6th District in Congress?

How many years was Ossoff a Congressional aide?

bu22
bu22

@fktrump How about 2-she served for 5 years on the Fulton Board of Commissioners, the county equivalent of the House and also 4 years as Secretary of State for Georgia.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Doom a classical liberal @bu22 @fktrump

Meh. You're all in with a guy who has zero legislative and political experience and who no right minded Fortune 500 company would touch with a ten foot pole for any position anywhere near its C-suite that didn't involve sweeping floors or bringing coffee or cleaning latrines.  You're on shaky ground here, doomy. Real shaky

midtown-Mark
midtown-Mark

If I lived in that district, I would probably vote for Ossoff, even though I lean Republican.  By definition, Ossoff would have to operate as a moderate/conservative Democrat if he hoped to have any chance of winning re-election in 2018 in that district.  I think we need more Democrats in Congress to the right of the average Democrat, and we need more Republicans in Congress to the left of the average Republican.  In other words, we need more people in the center if we are ever going to overcome, or at least mitigate, the relentless polarization that is going on. 

Last year, on the state level, I had decided to no longer vote for Republicans due to the irresponsibility of too many Republicans who were pushing Religious Liberty nonsense which could greatly damage the economy of Georgia, to solve a problem which largely does not exist.  It was a phony issue and I'm tired of phony issues taking prominence over real problems which need addressing.  When I vote, I want to vote for something, as opposed to oppose something.  On the state level in Georgia, it became apparent that the Republican base in Georgia is way too negative and lacking in vision for me to continue to support them.  I exclude Nathan Deal from that as I think he has largely been a very effective governor who stopped the more extreme elements in his party from heading off the same cliff that North Carolina jumped off last year.    

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@midtown-Mark

There is perhaps opportunity for a candidate to exercise campaign promises that are more neutral at the local level, however, as you move from local politics to state and especially national the candidate has to vote the party line or not have the party support which means s/he can get nothing done.

That in effect makes Ossoff's promises which sound reasonable and good at most empty.

Ossoff if elected would vote as Nancy Pelosi tells him.

If you need evidence of that look no further than the so-called Blue Dog Democrats who talked a big game to please local voters but when it came down to it they vote as Nancy and the Dem party tells them.

The rest of your post sounds like the LibProg playbook, so my guess is your thought of leaning Republican is only in your mind.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb @midtown-Mark


Geez. LibProg playbook? Sounds like reasonable thought process to me. If you believe in government checks and balance then you would vote for the opposition party to keep the president accountable. It has happen pretty much in every previous presidency.


Ossoff is running as a conservative democrat and if he moves of that track, then he would get kicked to the curb. I doubt he would cave to liberal policies as he knows his constituents are much more right of center.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Well over 100 days as the nations president and still no evidence of collusion with the Russians during the campaign. Still no hard evidence that the Russians succeeded in tipping the election outcome to Trump, or even that they wanted to.

Gary Jones0077
Gary Jones0077

@SGTGrit  You are correct sir, and what have we heard about Homeland Security trying to hack into the Georgia voter data base during the last presidential election--absolutely nothing, even though Secretary of State Kemp has been demanding answers.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Gary Jones0077 @SGTGrit  Graham said that leaking classified information to the media is worse than the Russian attempt to meddle in our election. He's correct the WaPo leak should demand an intense full investigation.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@SGTGrit Well over 100 days as the nations president and still no evidence of collusion with the Russians during the campaign.


Yet.....


Still no hard evidence that the Russians succeeded in tipping the election outcome to Trump, or even that they wanted to.


Actually we have that already in spades. The emails, fake news stories etc all products of Russian interference.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Hedley_Lammar @SGTGrit  Do you understand what "hard evidence" means? At this point the Russians success is all conjectures and suppositions. Did they try...yes, did they succeed at accomplishing any thing....no hard proof that they did.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Every Conservative should be up in arms about the healthcare bill.

Why, because the Republican bill cements the buy in to more socialized medicine.

More because we already had Medicare and Medicaid.

It supports what will be forever another entitlement and more welfare.

The mantra should have been repeal, not repeal and replace.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Visual_Cortex @JohnnyReb

Yes

Ryan believes in the subsidies as an offset to tax free employer provided coverage.

He's not exactly a RINO but close to it.

Dem Lite

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

You didn't read what's on the gentleman's T-shirt, did you?