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Sunday, March 14, 2010 12:42 PM


Obama's Backbone Like Over-Cooked Spaghetti; So Where Are The Fiscal Conservatives?


Please consider 4 visualizations of Obama's Budget Cuts.

$17 Billion Cuts In Context



Obama Budget Cuts Visualization



Obama's "Unsustainable Course" (And what he's NOT doing something about)

Note: There is no audio in the middle portion of this video.



What Does The Federal Budget Freeze Look Like?



For more on budgetary math behind the freeze please see What Does the Federal Budget Freeze Look Like?

The amount saved from this freeze has been consistently reported as $15 billion in the first year and $250 billion over 10 years. I hate the “we’re saving $250 billion over 10 years” line. It is a piece of crass political rhetoric and I’m disappointed that the administration would use it. If they actually implement a three year freeze on the portion of the budget they’re talking about (which is a big if, but let’s assume the best), why measure the effects in the space of 10 years?

The answer is “To make the freeze look bigger”.

They might as well say that they’re saving a trillion dollars over the next 25 years or a hundred trillion over the next 300 years. It is a data statement designed to trick people.

Second, I hate the “We’re saving all this money by not spending it” line because it is similarly political. If a future politician wants to play this stupid numbers game, all they have to do is “project” that they will spend like a crazy person next year and when the next year comes, they decided to spend like a half crazy person. Then they can claim that they have “saved” all this money because they “reduced” their projected spending.

Keep in mind the hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle. Overall, it looks like both sides are more interested in political gain than in having a frank discussion about the numbers and what they mean. This should surprise no one, but I confess to finding myself somewhat dismayed that the Obama administration, for all their hype about being pro-science and pro-data, has no problem spinning the numbers in a way that decreases clear comprehension in order to increase message potency.
Where Are The Fiscal Conservatives?

When will conservatives in Congress be willing to do something other than play politics? That's what I want to know. There was every opportunity under Bush to do something. Nothing happened.

Entitlements must be reined in, but so must military spending. The US cannot afford to keep troops in 140 nations. We cannot afford to keep fighting wars that do not need to be fought. It's time to declare the war in Iraq won (and leave). It's time to declare the war in Afghanistan won (and leave). The latter war is no more winnable than Vietnam.

We need fiscal conservatism across the board. If Congress is unwilling to raise taxes to pay for a program then the program should be scrapped. We can start by scrapping HUD, and the Department of Education. Then we can scrap the Department of Energy. We can also get rid of all crop subsidies and allow imports of drugs from Canada.

The amazing thing is that Obama says he does not want deficits, Republicans say they do not want deficits, and Democrats say they do not want deficits. So why do we have deficits?

Other than Ron Paul, how many true fiscal conservatives are there? I think it is safe to say we found one in Governor Chris Christie, but where are they in the US Senate? Where are they in the US house? Even the supposedly fiscal conservative Blue Dog Democrats are acting like Obama's lap dog.

We need fiscal conservatives with a backbone of steel, not fiscal conservatives with bones like canned salmon. Worse yet, Obama and his lapdogs have the backbone of over-cooked spaghetti, and even among most of the so-called fiscal conservatives, canned salmon bones are the best we can typically find.

The only solution is a balanced budget amendment because as it sits, neither party is willing to hold the line on spending.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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