Politics

Sessions warns of perils of short-term solutions to debt

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions warned against short-term solutions for cutting spending in the wake of the super committee’s failure to reach a deal, saying that in the long run, these would leave the United States saddled with the exact same problems.

At a breakfast hosted by Americans for Tax Reform and the American Spectator on Wednesday, Sessions pointed to the ways in which easy cuts will be made to pay for things now, leaving the country with the same problems further down the road.

For instance, the proposed increased tax on millionaires, Sessions said, would be used to pay for just one year of the Social Security payroll tax holiday — “and so it’ll take ten years to pay for just one year of that,” he said.

“And by the way,” he added, “that’s the money they’ve been saying that they want to use to pay down the debt.”

“You can’t keep using these things up and then they’re not there,” he said. “A lot of the low-hanging spending fruit is going to be proposed by Republicans to pay for a scaled-down year-end solution, and they’ll be used up too — to fund new spending this year.”

Sessions also noted that a disproportionate amount of the spending cuts that would be enacted due to the super committee’s failure would be coming out of the Department of Defense’s budget.

“It’ll take one half of the $1.2 trillion cuts that result from the failure of the committee — around $600 billion,” Sessions said, noting that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was already working to cut the defense budget.

The end results, Sessions said, accounting for inflation, is “a 20 percent cut in defense.” By contrast, “some of the other programs like Medicaid, earned income tax credit, food stamps — which has gone up four fold in the past 10 years, by the way — get zero cuts. They’re protected totally.”

Follow Alexis on Twitter