Cut Federal Spending Now

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obama.jpgYeah, we now, if it weren't for the pork-laden $787 billion stimulus package, why, we would be in a depression. We can argue over the "fiscal (er, federal pork) multiplier effect" on the economy until we are blue in the face. (I still don't get how confiscating money from the private sector and redistributing it to the public sector creates real, sustainable net economic growth and jobs.) Quite simply, I agree with a comment in today's Investor Business Daily: Obama will call for a three-year freeze on non-military spending, currently $447 billion, but the paper says, "A limited spending freeze may have scant impact, but the politics are sound, experts say."

How true. Smarting from his Massachusetts rebuke, Obama thought perhaps he might try to sound fiscally conservative, you know, move to the center, mollify the Tea Party people a bit. Smart. Well, smart politics but not a constructive move really.

The Cato Institute argues simply, "The federal government is spending too much, running large deficits, and heading toward a financial crisis. Total federal outlays increased 68 percent during the eight years of the Bush administration -- fiscal years 2001 to 2009 -- with large increases in defense, education, health care, and other areas."

Among other things, Cato's Chris Edwards suggests that "Congress should:

- Cut federal spending from 21 percent to 16 percent of gross domestic product over 10 years;

- Terminate, privatize, or transfer to state governments more than 100 programs and agencies, including those involved in agriculture, education, housing, and transportation;

- Reform Social Security by cutting the growth in government benefits and adding a system of private accounts;

- Cut Medicare spending growth and move toward a health care system based on individual savings and choice;

- Convert Medicaid into a block grant and freeze federal spending; and

- Impose a statutory cap on the annual growth in total federal outlays."

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