Sunday, November 14, 2010

Real spending cut suggestions

I have to admit, this is one of the reasons I'm glad to be back to the work and still proud (there were some moments when so many were bewitched by the election) to be working for the Register. Amid all the brave talk about cutting spending -- most of which will disappear after most of the newbies have had a chance to settle in and realize what a sweet deal being in Congress is and how much fun it is to spend other peoples' money -- we've heard almost no specifics about what should be cut. This Register editorial has specifics, including several, like ending the drug war and cutting back on "defense" spending, that are intellectual slam-dunks but will get almost no traction in the political world. Nonetheless it's helpful, I think, to raise flags that won't be saluted for a while. The topic of cutting spending by the fedgov is almost always accompanied by talk of pain and sacrifice. To be sure, some spending cuts will cut off some parasites from sweet subsidies or nice salaries, but it's important to make the point that lower spending will not be painful to most Americans and in fact is likely to make our lives better. Who else emphasizes that?

Reason magazine in its November issue also has some excellent (and more detailed than can be done in a single editorial) suggestions for spending cuts. Unlike conservatives, libertarians are not afraid -- indeed are eager -- to be specific about what kind of government spending can be cut or eliminated to the benefit of most Americans.

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