Cutting Government Spending is Impossible and the Politicians Know It

Posted on September 28th, 2009 by admin in Political Economy

Bruce Bartlett is a former Treasury Department economist. Writing in Forbes Magazine, 9-18-09 he notes:

Domestic discretionary spending amounted to $485 billion last year. With a deficit last year of $459 billion, we would have had to abolish virtually every single domestic program to have achieved budget balance. That means every penny spent on housing, education, agriculture, highway construction and maintenance, border patrols, air traffic control, the FBI, and every other thing one can think of outside of national defense, Social Security and Medicare.

This means that it is impossible to get control of spending without cutting entitlement programs. Many Republicans agree, but they never make any serious effort to do so. On the contrary, they defend entitlements when Democrats suggest cutting them. The Republican National Committee has run television ads opposing cuts in Medicare because Obama proposed using such cuts to fund health reform. Many demonstrators at right-wing tea parties were seen carrying signs demanding that the government keep its hands off Medicare.

This reality is actually old and well-known. But it’s wise to review this stark fact from time to time if you care about your long term financial future and appreciate the enormous impact in our economy by the federal government.

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