Interestingly enough, even after the “draconian” sequestration cuts, the government would still spend more this fiscal year than they did last fiscal year. Only in Washington D.C. could proposed decreases to the rate of future spending increases be twisted into meaning real, painful spending cuts. But, real spending cuts are exactly what we need. Below is a graph of federal spending since 1947.
Annual federal spending has more than doubled since 2000. The looming automatic cuts to future increases total about 2% of current spending levels. However, these cuts will not all happen at once on March 1st. The sequestration cuts will be phased in over a period of several months. In fact, only about $44 billion in cuts will take place this year. The remaining balance applies to spending obligations that extend over multiple years. Without question the sequestration cuts represent less than a drop in the bucket and fail to substantively address the issue of the massive fiscal leviathan that is the US government.
All of this political posturing is nothing new. The sequestration debacle is politics as usual in Washington DC. Politicians package events like the Debt Ceiling Crisis, the Fiscal Cliff, and the Sequestration Crisis as individual crises to causelessly appear and then be miraculous adverted at the eleventh hour. The fact is that these are not separate issues but rather are symptoms of the same much larger problem. The government spends too much because it does too much. The government has grown to be involved in countless areas beyond its legitimate function. We need to fundamentally rethink the role of government.
However, the range of acceptable public discourse is confined to arguments about marginally raising taxes on particular groups or splitting hairs over benefits to other groups. Anyone who suggests meaningful reductions to the size and scope of government is deemed impractical. What is impractical is thinking we can continue down the current course that Republican and Democrat leadership insist on traveling. There is simply not enough wealth on planet Earth to pay for the obligations and promises that Uncle Sam has made.