(The Johnny in the title "Why Johnny Can't Cut Spending" refers to Speaker Beohner, not Mr. Chait.)
From "Why Republicans Can’t Propose Spending Cuts",
"Reporters are presenting this as a kind of negotiating problem, based on each side’s desire for the other to stick its neck out first. But it actually reflects a much more fundamental problem than that. Republicans think government spending is huge, but they can’t really identify ways they want to solve that problem, because government spending is not really huge. That is to say, on top of an ideological gulf between the two parties, we have an epistemological gulf. The Republican understanding of government spending is based on hazy, abstract notions that don’t match reality and can’t be translated into a workable program."This is exactly the problem! We have one major party that has some idea -- if an imperfect grasp -- of what's going on struggling to reach agreement with the other major party ... the one that not only has no idea what's going on but fundamentally opposes the whole idea of what's really going on at an ideological level. We're dealing with a faith-based community of Republicans who insist that we really need to cut spending. But it's just because they believe in cutting spending for its own sake. There is no logical grounds for dramatically cutting spending supported by cold, hard fact. There is only a doctrine claiming that cutting spending is always the right thing in all circumstances. That's incorrect. And it's a harmful error ... a potentially disastrous error.