Friday, February 11, 2005

Bread and Circuses...

The dog and pony show continues. As the republicrats argue about what programs to cut, the overall image is still one of massive government growth. When Bush first anounced cuts in government spending, on some of the unconstituional things government spends stolen tax loot on, I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, on further inspection, the numbers don't add up (well they do, but only to the biggest government budget EVER proposed...EVER).

I was trying to figure out what this years budget was supposed to be, but could only come up with this years estimated spending, currently at $2.4 TRILLION. The new budget is 7% over that at $2.6 TRILLION. Whatever cuts Bush made, to the wholly unconstitutional programs he sees no benefit in, he added, plus a lot more, to the unconstitutional programs he sees some merit in (he says "profit", but what goverment operates at or for a profit???).

Tom Knapp noticed this...

First, some arithmetic: 2.57 is greater than 2.4, no? I'm a little fuzzy on higher math, but I think that's right. If so, then Bush's FY2006 proposal ($2.57 trillion) would appear to be larger, not smaller, than the FY2005 budget ($2.4 trillion).

Even factoring in standard economists' tricks, there's not any reasonable way to make next year's budget proposal look smaller than this year's. If we control for inflation, then we have a range of statistics from which to choose. The lowball would be the forecast increase in consumer prices for 2005 -- 2.2%. That would yield us an "infation-neutral" budget number of about $2.45 trillion. On the higher end, economic growth forecasts for 2005 run as high as 3.6%. That would give us a "not really spending more" budget figure of $2.48 trillion. Once again, do the math. My calculator insists that both of these numbers are less than $2.57 trillion -- and I don't know about you, but I trust Texas Instruments more than I trust Texas presidents. Especially Texas presidents who actually hail from Connecticut.

The second dodge I've seen is that the budget is "tighter" because it "grows less than government revenues are projected to grow." No sympathy here. If revenues are growing, then what's called for is another round of tax cuts, not an increase in spending under the pretense of tightening our belts.

Finally, there's the "as a percentage of GDP" argument -- the idea that as long as government spending goes down relative to national production, that it's a real cut. That argument isn't persuasive, because it assumes that government expenditures should scale, in some particular way, to the size of the national economy. Most of them don't. If economic production goes up, that doesn't mean that the president needs more Secret Service agents huddling around him, or that an armored division requires more tanks, or, for that matter, that the nation requires more armored divisions.

Any truthful way you cut it -- pun intended -- the FY2006 budget proposal is bigger than the FY2005 budget. So, when a Republican begins to brag, or a Democrat starts to whine, about the "budget cuts," don't believe'em.

Why we continue to put up with this (or any) bunch of lyin', cheatin', stealin' politicians is beyond me. But it should make a good country song,...one day.

Harry Browne also took note of the shenanigans...

The game has begun. George Bush has introduced a budget that contains "tough cuts" in programs. The Democrats are screaming, and "libertarian" Republicans are cheering Bush's courage.

But let's see what's going on. For fiscal 2005, the latest estimate is that the federal government will spend $2.4 trillion.

For fiscal 2006, the President is proposing a tough, no-nonsense, program-slashing budget of $2.6 trillion.

So with all "Bush's proposed cuts," we wind up with a federal government that's 7% larger.

In addition, we must note that the actual budget almost always exceeds the President's proposed budget – usually by several percent. So what we're hearing is the same old "we're going to . . . " that we always hear from the Republicans. The reality undoubtedly will be only a tiny fraction of what they're promising now, and more likely will be the opposite of what they're promising.

But, all together now, let's give a round of applause to President Bush for holding the increase in spending down to 7%. Isn't that exactly what we've been hoping for?

I guess not.

The whole thing is a game. Republicans pretend to cut, to appeal to free-market Republicans – and the Democrats pretend to be outraged, to appeal to their socialist supporters. In reality, nothing will actually change. It never does.

Republicans are great at two things: (1) taking credit for promises that haven't been fulfilled yet, and (2) coming up with excuses when the promises aren't fulfilled.

But ya' all keep sendin' in those dollars and box-tops. It certainly seems to be true, that "the voters get the government they deserve".

On that note...a little more on why the best government is no government, from Per Bylund...

If government is to interpret its own limitations and protect its subjects from its own actions (where not within the limits stated) the potential threat or problem is obvious. As the example of the United States shows, such a constitutional structure is likely to be used as a sanction for expanding, not binding, the powers of government.

Given that a government of men created by men can only be limited through the actions of men, the actions of government will always be the actions of the men in government. The reasons for such men not to increase their own (i.e., government’s) power are not many and not obvious. Even if the founders of government were to be relied on, it is most likely that corrupt men will aim for and become part of government at some time in the future.

Government will in time tend to serve the people acting as government rather than the people subject to government. Since government is the ultimate power in society (which, in a sense, is the purpose of government to begin with), there will be no one having the power to object to such development. And there will be no one with the power to force the unleashed government back into its limited shape.


"The Statue of Liberty is kaput!?!...That's disconcerting!!" Captain John Miller, "Saving Private Ryan"

3 Comments:

Blogger Jim Paulson said...

Good piece David. Good to see you back! Now let's kill the IRS, Federal Reserve and vote Libertarian! Whadda ya say?

Saturday, February 12, 2005 1:11:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

All you really have to do is elimnate the Federal Reserve and go back to a gold/silver standard for money. The rest of the system will be reduced an chained by that standard when the government can't create money out of thin air. But you won't be able to do it with the vote.

Monday, February 14, 2005 8:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gunner said...

they use doublespeak well. Would make Orwell proud of them. The shame is most people buy into the lies. The fight for freedom is for the people, the government is lost to reform of any sort.

Saturday, February 19, 2005 6:32:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home