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April 12, 2011

Sure The Cuts Were Insignificant, But At Least They Weren’t Genuine

Observers have begun reviewing the historic details of the historic budget agreement including its historic $38 billion in spending cuts and are finding that Congress has truly cut right to the bone. Okay, given our $3.5 trillion budget and $1.5 trillion deficit, that would have to assume that the creature you are cutting has an exoskeleton, but you have to realize these people have never cut anything in their lives and so are a little light headed at the prospect.

Among the severe, draconian cuts that Republicans championed and that the President “would not have made… in better circumstances,” are $10 billion in cuts to earmarks the House already banned, $10 billion in cuts that had already been passed into law, $5 billion in cuts to crime victims that aren’t actually cuts at all, billions in cuts by not spending money that was not going to be spent anyway, and $1.5 billion in cuts “slashed” from High-Speed Rail achieved by agreeing to spend an additional $1 billion on High-Speed Rail.  (Don’t ask, Washington budget calculations are very complex involving such higher mathematical functions as addition, subtraction, and lying.)

While participants celebrated the historic agreement, attention is now turning towards the debt ceiling that, with the government running $100-billion-a-month deficits, is expected to be breached in a matter of months.

This could become a serious issue, given that most Americans are against raising the debt ceiling, even after pollsters patiently explain to them that not raising the debt ceiling would result in the country defaulting on its bonds and halting payments to government program participants and federal employees.

How could this be?

One could look at the tiny cuts just agreed to and their counterfeit nature in light of a nation that is careening towards fiscal insolvency, and conclude that voters are making the purely rational judgment that only an extreme measure such as inviting a national default will finally force our leaders and fellow citizens to take the situation seriously. 

Sure, you could go that way.

Or you could just assume that Americans are drooling morons and can’t possibly understand that failure to raise the debt ceiling would be nothing short of Armageddon.  As investor Bill Gross, founder of fund giant PIMCO put it, "I'm all for a move to a balanced budget over time. But this is like imposing the death penalty for shoplifting."

For the record, Mr. Gross is betting on the death penalty.

In totally unrelated news, American citizens were stunned to learn that our intervention in Libya is costing more than they had been lead to believe.

It is unclear exactly how many government officials will lose their jobs over this unprecedented break in the sacred trust between the people and their government, but we assume this surprising under-estimation of the cost of a government venture will not go unpunished.

J.

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April 12, 2011 at 04:49 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink

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