Archive for August 7th, 2012

I like sequestration. Automatic budget cuts might not be the best way of reducing the burden of government spending, but a sequester is better than leaving the federal budget on autopilot.

Particularly since the “cuts” are mostly just reductions in already-scheduled increases.

The only exception, at least in the short run, is the defense budget. I point out in this Cato Institute video that the defense budget absorbs 50 percent of the sequester even though the Pentagon accounts for only about 25 percent of federal outlays.

But even with a sequester, the defense budget ten years from now will be $100 billion higher than it is today.

And since the United States accounts from more than 45 percent of global military spending (and our allies represent another 24 percent of total defense outlays), two of my Cato colleagues explain in the video that it is silly to think that a sequester will leave America helpless.

Many Republicans want to cancel the sequester in order to protect the defense budget, and some of them are even willing to surrender to Obama’s demands and implement a tax increase to make that happen.

Before doing something that is both economically and politically misguided, they should take a few minutes and read George Will’s sober analysis.

While they’re at it, that may want to also peruse some writings by Mark Steyn and Steve Chapman. A defense sequester might be an especially good result if it leads to some long-overdue thinking about misguided overseas commitments.

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I almost feel sorry for the ideologues and partisan hacks who feel obliged to defends Obama’s miserable economic performance.

Keynesian spending policies and class-warfare tax policies have produced dismal economic performance, with unemployment stuck above 8 percent – even though the White House promised the joblessness rate by this point would be about 5.5 percent if we squandered $800 billion-plus on the so-called stimulus.

Yet Keith Boykin gamely tries to put perfume on this hog in our debate on CNBC.

Notice that I began this post by saying I “almost feel sorry” for the spin-meisters who defend Obamanomics. But “almost” is the key word in that sentence. I reserve my genuine sympathy for the millions of people who can’t find jobs because of the President’s destructive policies.

Let me add a few comments.

Boykin tries to disavow the Romer-Bernstein report and pretend that the President didn’t highlight and promote its claims when pushing for the faux stimulus. That’s a remarkable bit of revisionist history and I think I was effective at tying that rotting fish around his neck.

Keith also highlights the relatively good performance of the Clinton years. As I’ve done before, I announce that we’d be much better off with the Clinton tax rates – but only if we also get rid of all the reckless spending and regulation of the Bush and Obama years. I thinks that’s an effective point to make, but I confess I don’t have any feedback one way or the other to indicate that it’s a persuasive argument.

The most revealing point of the interview is when the host incredulously remarked to Keith that “you think we should have bigger government.”

But if anybody thinks that it’s a good idea to increase the burden of government spending, then they need to explain why America will be better off if we make our country more like Greece and France.

Last week, I shared some numbers from the left-wing OECD which showed that living standards are much higher in the United States than they are in Europe’s welfare states. That is what this fight is all about.

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