The President on Tuesday signed the continuing resolution that funds the government through September and (gasp) keeps the sequester cuts intact. Now that it appears sequestration isn’t going away (and yet the earth continues to spin merrily on its axis), the focus should be on how this small step might be extended.
The latest report by the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold on Beltway tomfoolery tells of what happened when both Democrats and Republicans asked government workers and the public for suggestions on how to reduce government spending. Apparently neither party had much interest in the responses.
State and local politicians love federal money. Every federal dollar that a state or local politician can spend is a dollar that he or she doesn’t have to ask his or her voters to come up with through taxes or fees.
The Washington Post notes the following quote from Rep. Paul Ryan in his CPAC speech:
The now annual release of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal has replaced the release of the president’s budget proposal as my least favorite policy event of the year. The president promises big government and Ryan promises smaller big government. What makes the Ryan proposal more aggravating is that it’s hardly a vision of limited government, but the left (and many on the right) treats it like it is.
Sheldon Richman and I spent a lot of time last week running through numbers from theCongressional Budget Office in order to gauge sequestration’s effect on federal spending. In the resulting column, Richman lays out the numbers and asks a pertinent question: How the $#!?% is the average voter supposed to have a clue about this stuff?
This Cato video takes on the apocalyptic hype surrounding sequestration:
The president made an appearance at the National Governors Association’s winter meeting to drum up support for his position that the sequestration spending cuts should be mitigated with tax hikes. The president understands that state politicians are dependent on federal handouts (see chart below), which makes them ideal candidates to help him convince the citizenry that spending cuts would usher in the apocalypse.
The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold has identified another budget zombie. This time it’s an obscure grant program administered by the Federal Aviation Administration that dumps money on tiny airports with scant activity.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the $85 billion in sequestration spending cuts translates into $44 billion reduction in actual federal outlays for 2013. The following chart puts that figure in perspective.