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The American People Need Real Spending Cuts
February 24, 2013, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The American People Need Real Spending Cuts:

President Obama and other so-called progressives insist that the
American people are not overly dependent on government. They also
predict dire consequences if the automatic budget “cuts” known as
sequestration take place March 1.
Both claims cannot be true. If modest across-the-board
“cuts”—mainly cuts in the rate of growth—in military and domestic
spending pose a threat to the American people and the U.S. economy,
then the country is alarmingly dependent on government.
Federal spending has grown
dramatically
since the 1970s, with the biggest increases coming
during Republican administrations. Spending today is hundreds of
billions greater than in 2008 and much higher as a percentage of
the economy. True, it is lower now than in 2009, but that year, a
combination of George W. Bush and Obama “stimulus” spending, set a
record.
The sequester consists of $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts
in non-entitlement spending growth over ten years. To put that in
perspective, Reason editor
Nick Gillespie
writes, “Remember that we’re talking about $1.2
trillion dollars taken out of a projected $44 trillion or so in
spending. What kind of budget discipline is that?”
As that March 1 sequester approaches, the Obama administration
warns of severe consequences for national security and economic
security.
It is hard to take seriously the claim that even a small and
temporary decrease in Pentagon spending would endanger the American
people. Military spending has skyrocketed since the year 2000, and
the United States spends almost as much on the means of war as the
rest of the world combined—indeed, it spends more than it did at
the height of the Cold War. The U.S. military is now out of Iraq
and is beginning to leave Afghanistan. One should expect a fall in
spending under those circumstances—unless the government plans to
invade more countries.
Yet Obama and outgoing defense secretary Leon Panetta foresee
great danger. Nonsense. As Mercatus Center analyst
Veronique de Rugy
writes, “Defense spending has almost doubled
in the past decade in current dollar terms and will continue to
grow in spite of automatic cuts.” Summarizing Rugy’s findings,

Gillespie
writes, “Assuming maximum sequestration, Defense
would increase only 16 percent in current dollars over the next
decade, rather than 23 percent without sequestration.” Some
cut.
Of course, much could and should be cut from the military by
ending the U.S. government’s imperial foreign policy—which makes
enemies for the American people—and moving to a policy of strict
noninterventionism. This would not only save money; it would be the
right thing to do. The U.S. government should not be policing the
world.
What about the claims that a spending slowdown would harm the
economy? We’re told the economy could fall back into recession if
spending is not maintained at the vigorous pace previously planned.
After all, it is argued, if government workers are laid off and
fewer military contracts are written, less money will be in
people’s hands to spend on goods and services. Considering that the
government wouldn’t actually have less revenue under sequestration,
this is an outrageous exaggeration if not an outright lie. Of
course, beneficiaries of that spending—especially the parasitic
politicians and the military-industrial complex—have every reason
to mislead the taxpayers. The people’s natural interest in lower
taxes and lower government spending must be overcome somehow.
Frightening them into believing that even a slowing of the growth
in spending would wreck the economy is just the ticket.
Even if it were true that the economy would slow down, it would
be no more than a short-term effect that would quickly give way to
real, sustainable economic growth, assuming the government took
other needed steps to free the economy. Government employees and
contractors spend the taxpayers’ money. If the largess ends, the
producers of that wealth will be free to spend and invest as they
like. That’s not only just; it’s how sound economies are generated.
Politicians use the force of the state to shape the economy to
their own purposes. That violates freedom and stifles
prosperity.
Contrary to the Keynesian ruling elite, government does not
generate economic growth. The free market, unburdened by spending,
taxes, regulation, and privilege, contains all that it needs to
raise living standards for all. After sequestration, let’s start
seeing real and substantial cuts in spending.


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