Free Markets, Free People

Fiscal reality–one step forward, two steps back

The averted government shutdown in which the budget for the remainder of 2011 has apparently been agreed too with $38.5 billion in spending cuts is better than one with no spending cuts, obviously. 

But we should keep the cuts made in context, because what is happening right now, beside the caterwauling by the left about grandma and cat food, is the ship of state is still filling with the water of increased debt faster than we can bail.  The context?

The federal debt increased $54.1 billion in the eight days preceding the deal made by President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to cut $38.5 billion in federal spending for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which runs through September.

Yes, praise indeed for persevering and getting some manner of cut out of this deal with Democrats fighting the Republicans every step of the way.  Lord knows if the Democrats had actually passed a budget last year we wouldn’t even see the cuts they got.  And keep in mind that we’re talking about the rest of the year’s discretionary spending for the most part – entitlements can’t be cut until and unless the laws controlling them are addressed and that won’t be until later on in this year. 

Also remember, what you’re witnessing here is a mere skirmish.  The “war” comes when the president’s budget meets the Republican House’s budget (with the Senate thrown in to completely confuse the situation).  The real war takes place with the 2012 budget. 

So for those hollering that the GOP should have gotten more, I’m not so sure that’s a useful argument at the moment.  The fact that they’re in a mode to cut and have done so in this rump year “budget” where they can only have an effect on part of the spending is laudable.  Personally I think it is more important to make that point than to worry about how much we’d prefer they cut.  We need to keep them in that cutting mode and get the American people used to it (and on-board) as well.

The GOP also needs to get their message out there in a way which helps the American people understand the critical nature of cutting spending to our future long term solvency as well as getting government back under control and out of areas in which it doesn’t belong.  Believe it or not, numbers like the above help make that case.  Instead of using them as a downer, they help illustrate the problem and which side abets that problem.

Numbers like those above are startling for most –  their usefulness can’t be overstated. It puts an exclamation point on the argument Republicans have been trying to make.  As hard as the GOP had to work to wring that $38.5 billion out of the spending spree this administration is on, it still managed to spend more than was saved and add to the debt.

There’s a campaign advert in there somewhere.



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10 Responses to Fiscal reality–one step forward, two steps back

  • The federal debt increased $54.1 billion in the eight days preceding…

    … and it would have if they had passed a CR running the government at last year’s levels.
    Isn’t this argument a “Non Sequitur” to the problem at hand ?  They use this kind of stuff on SAT tests to confuse the students.

  • Actually this deal represents something we have not seen in decades, and actual reduction in government. Not just a bookkeeping trick.  Modest as it is, it is an actual cut.

    IF the House can get more cuts in next years budget, and we have some modest economic growth, then we might avert financial disaster.

    However, we will still have to await either democrats losing the senate, or a republican president before we can have some entitlement reform. And we need that before we can have any actual chance of reigning in government.

    • PS. I know that in the past having Republicans in charge would not mean a guarantee of any reform. but I think that this time things are different. The axe looming over our head is real and many politicians actually realize it now.

      • I understand the point about this is the best they can get.  Its a stalemate and its nothing to write home about.
        Also, to me, the Republicans looked at the prospect of a government shutdown in the eye, and blinked.
        There will always be enough Democrats + RINOs in either house to achieve a shutdown for some time to come.  And if the right is going to fold at the prospect of a government shutdown, Democrats just learned ho to keep getting their way, indefinitely.

        • I tend to agree with the assessment that the right’s biggest victory here is that the discussion is now being fought  over how much to cut, as opposed to not cutting at all.

          Even Baracky and Reid are acting like this was a big deal, gonna be hard for them to cry again about how “draconian” the next round of cuts will  be

  • Yes, the cut only amounted to the deficit for 5.6 days of federal government operation, but it killed 7 million seniors (in a program that only has 2.5 million seniors).

  • The federal government, under the outstanding leadership of Barack Obama …

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A top White House political and economic adviser says President Obama will lay out new plans this week to reduce the federal deficit.
    Obama adviser David Plouffe, speaking Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” says Obama plans to offer ideas for what Plouffe calls “long-term deficit reduction” as Congress begins to debate raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

    Always a day late and a dollar short, but clearly this signals who won (hint: it wasn’t Obama).

    • Yeah, and big surprise – we’re back to talking about making the rich bastard making more than $250,00 a year PAY! PAY! PAY!
      Now, bear in mind, that means companies like GE will continue to off shore jobs and manufacturing and avoid paying anything (AND qualify for credits…heh heh heh), and the guy who owns a couple 7-11 type quicky marts will PAY! his ‘fair share’ instead of continuing to exploit the working masses.