Sigh. You knew they would do this.
The Obama Administration would rather jump into a vat of boiling lava than make the tiniest cuts in federal spending, so they’re following up their earlier Vaudeville acts by telling each state how much it stands to lose if the oh-so-dreaded sequester cuts a mere 2.3 percent from the scheduled increase in federal spending.
The looming Armageddon for Michigan was laid out in horrific detail, including:
- $22 million in school funding that would put 300 teacher and teacher’s aide jobs “at risk,” whatever that means.
- $20.3 million that pays for teachers and staff to help kids with disabilities.
- $5.9 million to “ensure clean water and air quality” (so we’re sure the water is always clean and the air is always fresh because of this $5.9 million?).
- $14 million that helps to fund Army base operations in Michigan.
- $1.7 million that funds “job search assistance,” so apparently 54,400 will have to look for jobs on the Internet just like everyone else.
Look. Here is the reality check people all over the country need to start dealing with. This nation is $16 trillion in debt and is adding about $1 trillion to that debt every year by promising far more free goodies to people than we can come anywhere near paying for.
The deficit represents more than 25 percent of all federal spending. So a cut of 2.3 percent, which is all the sequester represents, is a mere pittance of what actually needs to be cut. If you’re going to have a conniption fit over 2.3 percent, you’re going to have a massive coronary if anyone ever comes along with the political courage to really fix the problem.
Now, you could listen to the likes of Carl Levin, who offers that we cut “unjustified loopholes” in the tax code so we can keep some of these goodies. If you’re not the type of citizen who actually looks at the federal budget, that might sound sensible. You wouldn’t be aware that as recently as 2007, the federal government only spent $2.7 trillion a year instead of the $3.6 trillion we’re spending now. That explosion in spending – a 25 percent increase in just six years – unambiguously tells you how the problem was created.
So instead of running screaming from the building because we might lose some of our largess from Washington, Michigan residents might ask: Why are we depending on Washington to pay our teachers? Why are we asking a program funded by the federal government to help us look for jobs? And if the spigot of federal money were to be turned off, could we make some smarter decisions and still have what we need?
See, the funny thing is this: Because most states (including Michigan) are constitutionally required to balance their budgets, the states are generally in far better fiscal shape than the federal government. And yet we’re relying on borrowed federal money to pay for things we could pay for ourselves, or do without.
Washington wants you to think you should never do without anything, even when there is no money to pay for it. Washington wants you to absolutely freak out at the tiniest reduction in Washington’s massive deficit spending. Well. If you were facing a massive deficit of your own, you would not make a tiny sliver of a cut in spending and act like you had solved anything. Yet that’s what our elected leaders do routinely. That is what should make you panic.