"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, April 11, 2011

Re the Budget Deal

Meh.   The GOP got more than I thought they would, getting $38.5 billion in additional cuts to the FY 2011 budget, and averting a government shutdown, which the MSM would have "spun" to help the Democrats.   (You know the lyrics, so hum the tune:  "Heartless GOP takes money from Head Start!   Soulless GOP wants to take Grandma off her meds!   Mean GOP wants our boys overseas fighting to miss paychecks!   Rinse, repeat.)   And they got some good things too, like the promise of an up-or-down vote on funding Planned Parenthood.   (See below.)

But, on the whole, this is a drop in the proverbial bucket.   To put it in perspective, the federal budget for 2011 is likely to end up spending around $3.8 trillion.   So the "cut" was about 1%.   But meanwhile we're running a $1.6 trillion deficit, using money either printed or borrowed from the Chinese.   Perhaps Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" budget will do better for FY 2012.   But, by then, in the fall of 2011, everyone will be in full campaign mode for 2012, and the Democrats will demagogue every proposed cut as the end of the world.  

Sooner or later, of course, it actually will be the end of the world:  Chinese leverage, a rise in worldwide interest rates, significant state defaults (California?  Illinois?), significant sovereign defaults overseas (PIGS, you know who you are... Portugual, Ireland, Greece, Spain), etc.   We're doing increments when we need amputation -- significant cuts of whole segments of what government does.  

My vote:   the Departments of Education, Agriculture, and Commerce.   Cut them now, tomorrow.   That's more than $100 billion in discretionary spending that we'll never miss.  It's still just a drop in the bucket, but it's a bigger drop and would send a bigger message. 

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