Government spending has been a problem for decades. Yes, the federal budget was, arguably, balanced for a short time in the 90′s, but that was only a green flag that they could start spending more. I would like to state that I am one of those people who does not view tax cuts as a spending program. Asking how we’re going to pay for a tax cut is like my son asking how he will pay for me not increasing his allowance. The answer is, “your not.” If you have less money this year than before, you have to reduce expenses – that is the way a budget works. Often times, what you hear presented as being a “tax cut,” isn’t a tax cut at all, but rather “not an increase.” Both sides of all issues, in political debate, exercise “artistic license” in developing their definitions and choice of words.
Yes, there is a reason that “zero base line budgeting” is unpopular. Under the current system, if the govermnet spends $10 billion on a program this year and the plan is to increase it by 10% next year to $11 billion, then next year one side proposes spending $10.5 billion (a 5% increase instead of 10%), the side in favor of the project cries that it is a 5% cut or a half billion dollar cut and the other side says (usually ineffectively) that it is a 5% increase. Unfortunately, politicians are primarily lawyers, whose profession it is to challenge and push the limits of common definitions.
While Federal spending is indeed out of control, I believe the larger threat to the economy is the state and local budget. We normally only hear of the high profile issues with other states, but mostly the woes of our own states, counties, and municipalities. Now multiply thos woes times 50 states, your county’s problems times 3,100 (1) and your city’s issues times 30,000 (2).
Existing pensions, continued collective bargaining, state bankruptcy, and
(1) Approximate number of counties in the United States.
(2) Approximate number of cities and towns in the United States.