Cutting the Budget

Congress is just beginning to tackle the essential task of cutting the federal budget. Republicans have proposed to cut $100 billion over the remainder of this fiscal year; already Democrats and allied pundits are screaming that these cuts are Draconian. In fact, they’re far too small. Look at the trend in federal spending and the vast increases under Obama:

 

 

Let’s look at this per household. Spending since 2007 has increased dramatically, almost 25%:

Here’s a simple thought: go back to 2007 levels! Democrats at the time were complaining about the fiscal profligacy of the Republicans. There was a broad consensus on both left and right that the 2007 spending levels were too high. But returning to them now would drop federal spending about 20%.

Let’s set aside entitlements and think just about discretionary programs for a moment. Cutting them back to 2007 levels, even after adjusting for inflation, would cut discretionary spending 40%, or about $400 billion dollars. Admittedly, it’s almost halfway through the fiscal year; perhaps a 20% cutback now, and a further 20% cutback in October, would be a reasonable approach. Draconian? Irresponsible? But remember, it’s just returning to levels that were agreed to be too high.

 

 

Look at those annual growth levels: 9% in 2009, and almost 12% in 2010! And that’s occurred during a time when most people have had to cut back.

Kudos to the Republicans: $100 billion is a good start. But it’s only a start. Let’s cut another $300 billion for the fiscal year that begins in October. And I mean real cuts, not cuts from projected increases.

“But that will cut programs that matter!” I doubt it. But even if it does, there’s a simple answer. There’s no money. We can’t continue to borrow money the way we have over the past two years. Look at the almost incredible increase in the deficit, and the projected increase in the national debt over the next decade if we stay on this course.

Anyone who isn’t afraid doesn’t understand the situation.

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