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.