I just read the Boehner and Reid plans for myself, because I’m sick of the news “interpreting” them for me. (the OLD Boehner plan…I haven’t been able to find the new one yet) Dude, they’re almost EXACTLY THE SAME. WTF?!? The only glaring difference I could find is that Reid wants caps on spending specifically related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other caps on discretionary spending, where Boehner’s plan wants to cap discretionary spending with Iraq and Afghanistan specifically excluded. BOTH plans cut subsidized Stafford loans for graduate students (which SUCKS, dudes) and basically use that “extra” to pay for extra Pell grants. The net gains from that are then very small in each plan. WHAT THE HECK, Boehner/Reid?!? Why even bother fiddling with Pell grants and Stafford loans when WE’RE ABOUT TO DEFAULT ON OUR OWN LOANS?!? I’m fuming right now. It might be forgivable if they hadn’t decided to put almost all of the money saved by forcing grad students to pay interest on their Stafford loans right back into Pell grants…but doing that SAVES US NO MONEY!!! Finally, the only other huge difference I could find in the plans is that the Reid plan (he’s the Democrat in this, just to remind you) had in it a clause to investigate those who are receiving unemployment benefits (and other benefits, like Disability and Social Security) to make sure that the system is not being abused. While CBO estimates that this will actually cost us money (probably to hire people to do the investigating), I can’t help but think it will probably save us money in the end, especially if–as Republicans are fond of saying–”the system is being abused.” There’s other minor differences in the plans (like one of the reasons Reid’s is estimated to save so much more include auctioning parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, WTF? He also wants to cut subsidies paid to factory farmers…), but all-in-all, I can’t help but notice that BOTH raise the debt ceiling and BOTH call for the creation of a task force to propose further debt reduction. If both parties’ major plans have that measure in them, why not forget the secret back-door cuts to Stafford loans, the random caps on things, and the increase in Pell grants, and instead focus on what really matters…raising the debt ceiling before it hits the fan, and creating a joint task force to work on reducing our freaking ginormous deficit before it comes this close to hitting the fan again.