In the past 10 years, the burden of federal spending has skyrocketed, more than doubling from$1.86 trillion in 2001 to an estimated $3.82 this year.
President Bush deserves a lot of the blame thanks to the no-bureaucrat-left-behind bill that bloated the Department of Education, the corrupt farm bills, the pork-filled transportation bills, the new prescription drug entitlement, and bailouts for banks and auto companies.
Obama then came to office promising hope and change, but he simply grabbed the baton and continued the spending spree, adding more TARP bailouts, and then giving us the boondoggles of a fake stimulus and government-run healthcare.
Taxpayers finally said enough is enough last November and there’s a new Congress with marching orders to stop Washington’s spending orgy.
But Barack Obama and Harry Reid are saying no. They want us to believe that the House spending cuts are too severe.
What does this mean? Are Republicans trying to reduce spending to $2.98 trillion, which is where it was in 2008? That would be a spending cut of nearly $1 trillion and music to my ears. Or are they being even more aggressive, perhaps trying to cut spending to about $2.5 trillion, about halfway between the 2001 and 2008 totals? That would be a spending cut of almost $1.5 trillion, which would be a fantasy for a libertarian wonk like me.
If these were the options being considered, we could understand President Obama and Senator Reid vigorously resisting spending cuts of that magnitude.
But that’s not what’s happening. Republicans in the House are not trying to reduce spending by a big amount. They’re not even trying to reduce the budget by $500 billion. Heck, they’re not even trying to lower this year’s spending levels by $100 billion.
Instead, the House GOP has put forward a very modest proposal to trim spending by $61 billion – and that tiny bit of nibbling around the edges of the welfare state has Barack Obama and Harry Reid acting as if the safety net is being ripped to shreds.
This video from my colleagues at the Cato Institute puts $61 billion of cuts in context – and indirectly shows that President Obama and Senator Reid have no credibility on fiscal policy.
I can’t resist making one final observation. The burden of government spending has jumped by about $2 trillion in the past 10 years. Does anybody think our economy is stronger as a result? More stable? More competitive? More vigorous? More entrepreneurial?
The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. So if the 10-year Bush-Obama experiment of bigger government has failed, isn’t it time we try a different approach?
To conclude, here’s one of my videos, looking at just a small fraction of the evidence in favor of smaller government.