Credit Where Credit’s Due

Marc Thiessen has a piece over at WaPo about federal government spending. (H/T, VodkaPundit) For the first time in decades, certainly the first time in my memory, the federal government’s spending will decrease. In 2010, the feds spend $3.457 trillion. Spending for this fiscal year should come in at $3.455 trillion. A couple of billion out of 3+ trillion may not seem like much, but as Senator Dirksen once said, “A billion here and a billion there, and soon you’re talking real money.” Actually, when you figure in inflation, that’s about a 5 % decrease in spending.

However, don’t be too quick to credit the President. He’s fought for ever more spending. The House GOP probably should get most of the credit because of the Budget Control Act.

You know, we could have balanced the budget this year. The actual revenue to the government would have allowed us to pay the interest on the debt and fund every agency at about 94 % of FY 2003 levels accounting for inflation. Most of us could have gotten by on 94 % of our 2003 income. Why couldn’t the government? Sure, some adjustments would have to be made, but couldn’t you gotten by with only 6 % decrease in the government you had in 2003?

3 thoughts on “Credit Where Credit’s Due

  1. To be fair, 2/3rds of the government’s spending goes to two sets of programs: Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid, and Defense. SS/MC/MD comprises about 4/9ths of the government’s spending and Defense is about 2/9ths. (Interest on the debt is about 1/18th). That’s why spending cuts are so hard- because real cuts would either need to actively cut Social Security benefits (which would spawn massive outrage and lawsuits) or stop increasing the payments with respect to inflation for a while (which would generate almost as much outrage, far fewer lawsuits, but would take a while to work.) And both Defense and SS/MC/MD have been “sacred cows” for a while now. So if we add up all those sacred cows, we’re talking about putting (generally) 6/9ths of the government’s spending out of the question- or, even with defense, 4/9ths at a minimum, which is still almost half.

    But yeah- even a little bit of progress- dragged here kicking and screaming- is progress.

  2. I keep receiving calls and letters wailing about how “the sequester” has hurt various non-profits, even forcing them to curtail services to the most vulnerable.

    So far, I have resisted the urge to ask, innocently, how a mere 2% cut in the rate of increase of their budgets could possibly have such a huge effect.

    So far.

    So, yes, please. Cut. I could definitely do with a little less government – it was too big and intrusive in 2003, and it’s much worse now.

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