There's plenty of talk about cutting the federal budget these days in Washington. And there's lots of fighting over the size of the federal government. But there has been relatively little discussion about the scope of Uncle Sam's activities.
The Washington Post is reporting that President Obama has assigned his staff with the task of designing a new set of government guarantees behind the U.S. mortgage market. Although as the Post also reports the “approach could even preserve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” That’s correct. Despite their role in driving the housing bubble and the already $160 billion in taxpayer losses, President Obama appears to be considering just putting the same failed system in place. Of course, we’ll be promised that it will all work better this time.
The Washington Post’s editorial board issued a challenge to the president and his Republican opponents: “show us your plans” for deficit reduction. In fact, the Post says it would be “delighted” to receive plans from its readers. However, the Post isn’t interested in “meaningless promises” to cut “waste, fraud, and abuse”—it wants specifics:
Two polls of likely voters released by Rasmussen Reports today indicate that the federal government’s corporate welfare programs should be prime targets for spending cuts.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s latest call for the federal government to soak the rich was prominently – and rather uncritically – featured on the major networks’ evening news last night. President Obama promptly jumped on Buffett’s op-ed in the New York Times to bolster his argument that Washington needs to generate more revenue.
It’s darkly comical that the same entity responsible for killing countless private sector jobs with its taxes and regulations operates job training programs. Cato has been documenting the failures of federal job training programs for decades, but “do something” policymakers in Washington refuse to accept the reality that they’re not the solution to problems that they help create.
David Boaz’s post on bizarre and utterly preposterous claims that the federal government’s “social safety net” has been shrinking brought to my mind James Madison’s position that “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”