Post-Sequester Drama: How Did We End Up Here?

False alarms. From pink slips that teachers haven’t gotten, to long lines at airports that haven’t developed (sub. req’d), to imaginary impacts of sequestration on vaccines for children, the Obama White House and the liberals in the media have had difficulty keeping up their dramatic sequester act.  In a sure sign of desperation, they’ve resorted to a mass cancelation of White House tours to strike fear in Americans (the horror!).

It’s been almost amusing watching the Left’s futile attempts to dramatize the sequester, and though the humor will wear off, the act is bound continue for some time.

But why are we having this discussion in the first place?

President Obama used the small sequester “cuts” as a means of manipulation to inflict “pain” on Americans.  Some Republicans and conservatives considered the level of the sequester a victory since it was, after all, at least a semblance of fiscal responsibility… even though the butcher knife style impact of defense is problematic.

But the reason we’re even having this discussion is the debt and deficit, the cause of which is excessive federal spending.  

The Left’s solution, as we noted earlier, is always simply to take more money from us.  The Heritage Foundation’s Salim Furth would disagree.  He explains:

Governments regularly run fiscal deficits and periodically awake to the need to restore balance to their finances. These episodes of “fiscal correction” or “austerity” may emphasize either tax increases or spending cuts. As the United States faces an out-of-control budget deficit and trillions in unfunded promises to future retirees, the question looms large: Tax more, spend less, or do some of both?

Ultimately, he suggests:

Amid the ongoing debate over how to stabilize the finances of the federal government in the long run, policymakers should keep in mind that this has been done before both in the U.S. and abroad. Many years of evidence indicate that spending-based fiscal consolidation is more effective at reducing debt and less likely to cause a recession. The last balanced budgets in the U.S. resulted from a long sequence of spending cuts from 1988 to 1998, allowing a sustained surge of economic growth. As government shrank and the risks associated with high government debt receded, innovation, private investment, and take-home wages soared. Let’s try that again.

If the federal government acted responsibly, respecting the free market and individual freedom, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

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