Open Forum: Myth

Posted: March 6, 2013

President Obama is currently claiming he has already cut $1.4 trillion in government spending and that he has proposed an additional $2.5 trillion in spending cuts. Really? This is government double-speak at its worst.

What he actually means is that he has proposed a spending increase that is $2.5 trillion less than the spending increase he originally proposed, and all of that is over the next 10 years. It’s still a huge spending increase, yet he calls it a spending cut? The president explains this subterfuge by calling it “accepted economic planning.” I call it a boldfaced lie.

Another thing: The president has repeatedly claimed that the $1.2 trillion (over 10 years) sequestration cuts will have dire consequences, including 750,000 lost jobs; layoffs of teachers, firemen, and cops; loss of military readiness; and a damaged economy. OK, if that’s true, then it must also be true the $1.4 trillion he claims to have already cut must have resulted in even more lost jobs and layoffs, and even more damage to the military and the economy.

By the same logic, the $2.5 trillion he has proposed will inevitably devastate the economy even more. Yet, somehow, by his logic, even though the sequestration cuts will be devastating, his existing “cuts” improved everything and his proposed cuts will result in further improvements. Go figure.

Perhaps I’ve been looking at our family budget incorrectly. I plan on buying a new car next year, and I originally had my eye on a $60,000 SUV. I’ve now lowered my expectations to a $40,000 car, so, by President Obama’s logic, I have cut my spending by $20,000. Funny thing, I can’t seem to locate the actual $20,000 cash, because it’s money I never had in the first place!

But, don’t waste all of your ire on the White House. All of this economic balderdash has been coming at us from both sides of the political aisle. Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in camouflaging their lack of courage. For example, both sides are wailing about the impact of sequestration. For crying out loud, it’s $82 billion this year — about 2.5 percent of the budget. It take an incredible amount of gall for Washington to claim it can’t cut the budget that much without suffering disastrous consequences.

OK, I know some families and individuals will suffer, but budget cuts are always painful, and, if my limited understanding of economics is correct, some budgetary pain right now will restore our national economy — a goal we can all agree on.

Here’s a thought: How about someone in Congress proposing real cuts in spending — this year and across the board — combined with a proposal for genuine tax reform?

Joe Fluet is a resident of the Lake Frederick community.