Drastic cuts?

Have you seen those ads about how the nasty President Bush is depriving the poor and needy by cutting and eliminating education and social programs? This isn’t new. It happens every budget cycle when Republicans are in the majority it seems. Brian Riedl discusses the Myth of spending cuts [WaTimes 06fb17].

News reports about the president’s budget overflow with dismay over “deep cuts” and “slashed” spending.

Images of schools and anti-poverty programs chafing under the fiscal knife abound. This proves hardly anybody actually reads the federal budget. If they did, they would realize just how much of a myth is this tale of “slashed” spending.

Alleged “deep cuts” over the last few years to education, anti-poverty and discretionary spending can be disproven easily by examining the federal government’s budget historical tables (particularly tables 3.2 and 8.1). The gulf between the facts and what’s widely reported and blogged is astounding.

Finally, there is the lazy, false stereotype that Republicans always cut spending. The plain facts refute this. Unfortunately, Congress and Mr. Bush have expanded education and social spending much faster than Mr. Clinton did, yet Mr. Bush has been attacked for stinginess in ways the Democrat never was.

The result: America faces substantial long-term spending challenges. The impending retirement of 77 million Baby Boomers threatens to push up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid enough to crowd out all other federal spending — or risk European-size tax increases.

But America cannot debate future spending priorities until reporters and bloggers do their homework.

“The gulf between the facts and what’s widely reported and blogged is astounding. ”

“But America cannot debate future spending priorities until reporters and bloggers do their homework.”

A lack of intellectual integrity and a studied ignorance are not keys to finding effective solutions. It appears that the federal budget is yet another important issue where these concepts have not been brought to the table.

Comments are closed.