|CBO Report Shows Excessive Spending, Not Insufficient Taxation, Explains Our Deficits|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, March 07 2013
In 2007, the federal government took in an all-time record $2.6 trillion in revenues.
That year’s deficit was merely $161 billion – quaint in retrospect.
This year, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), incoming federal revenues will break that 2007 record and reach a new all-time high of $2.7 trillion.
Yet this year’s deficit will be nearly $1 trillion.
So if revenues for 2007 and 2013 are the same, yet the 2013 deficit is nearly one trillion dollars, we can isolate the obvious culprit: excessive spending.
For the record, it should also be noted that 2007 was the last year in which Republicans controlled Congress and the White House; it was several years into the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and it was the year in which cumulative spending on the Iraq and Afghan wars peaked.
Accordingly, it is false for anyone to blame the “Bush tax cuts,” wars “that weren’t paid for” or supposedly spendthrift Republicans as the deficit bogeymen. We had never witnessed a trillion-dollar deficit in our nation’s history, but in the years since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid captured Congressional control and Barack Obama captured the White House, we have seen four trillion-dollar deficits in a row.
Like metronomes, however, liberals continue to insist that insufficient taxation is our problem. Just weeks ago on January 1, Barack Obama and his allies secured tax increases with no corresponding spending cuts through the “fiscal cliff” resolution. Yet they now claim that both the March 1 sequester and the March 27 funding expiration demand a new round of tax increases.
But the straightforward budgetary numbers, brought into stark relief by the CBO projection, contradict that logic.
Moreover, liberals cannot simultaneously lionize Bill Clinton while defending the current administration or calling for even higher spending and taxation. Adjusted for inflation, federal spending in 2000 was approximately 2/3 current totals. Yet our economy thrived, Clinton himself had proclaimed that “the era of big government is over” and no rational person was claiming that the federal leviathan was too small or weak.
In Latin, res ipsa loquitur. The fact speaks for itself.
Meanwhile, “sequester” spending histrionics from the Obama Administration have been exposed as false. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had claimed that airport waits would be “150% to 200% as long as we would normally expect,” and that “we will see these effects cascade over the next week. Under the headline “Airports See Few Problems Thus Far,” The Wall Street Journal highlighted the embarrassing reality for the Administration:
“Major airports reported smooth operations Monday, after the Obama Administration called attention to delays at two big airports over the weekend, adding to other early indications that the impact on air travel from forced government spending cuts may be less abrupt and in some ways less dramatic than many feared… Officials representing a dozen major airports said there were few if any unusual flight delays or lines at security or customs checkpoints. Since the sequester started Friday, ‘we haven’t seen any delays out of the ordinary,’ said Bob Rotiski, duty manager at San Francisco International Airport.”
Not coincidentally, Obama’s Gallup approval rating plummeted to just 46%.
Sanctification of federal spending suffered a similar blow from a report by the Department of Energy. According to its Inspector General’s audit, $142 million in federal grants from the Obama Administration as part of its electric car agenda was largely wasted. After a Holland, Michigan, factory that Obama personally called “a symbol of where America is going” failed to produce satisfactory batteries, the work was outsourced to a South Korean factory. Unfortunately, it went downhill from there:
“The Inspector General said that to avoid layoffs at the factory, LG Chem paid idle workers $1.6 million in the third quarter of last year, about half of which was covered by its U.S. grant, even though there was nothing for them to do. The workers played board games, watched movies, and volunteered at local animal shelters during regular work hours.”
So as federal dollars get wasted paying idle workers to play board games, and life goes on as normal despite bureaucrats’ exaggerated doomsday predictions, Americans recognize even more clearly that federal spending far exceeds its ideal amount.
And with the CBO report, they also understand that spending, not low taxes or “loopholes,” explains our dangerous deficits.
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