Did you survive the budget cuts caused by the last fight to raise the debt ceiling?
President Joe Biden called them “draconian” and Republicans praised the deal’s “historic spending cuts.”
But as my new video explains, both sides fooled us.
What they call “cuts” are just planned spending cuts increase. Instead of increasing spending by 7.8%, it increased it by “only” 3.9%. Only politicians can call an increase a decrease.
Biden praised the agreement, saying, “It cuts spending and reduces the deficit at the same time!”
But they didn’t.
Now they are using tricks to spend even more money. (Related: Sam Brown: Stop Spending and Bring Sanity Back to Washington)
“Call it an emergency. It’s over,” said Romina Boccia, a budget expert at the Cato Institute. “Spend your money on what you like.”
Boccia reports how the Senate is seeking to increase spending beyond the agreed-upon cap simply by calling it “emergency” spending.
“They donated $296 million to NASA for ’emergency infrastructure.’ What is ’emergency infrastructure’?” I ask.
“It’s no big deal,” she replied. “It’s just a way to increase NASA’s budget…a huge slush fund.”
“How do they justify this?”
“They don’t even try!” Boccia complains. “Unfortunately, Congress has complete discretion over what it calls an ’emergency.'”
This trick is not new. Under President Barack Obama, $150 million was added to fisheries in what was called an “emergency fund.”
“I don’t think it’s an emergency,” Boccia said. “It’s not sudden. It’s not urgent.”
The current budget also increases funding for wasteful agencies that should be abolished, such as the Department of Education. The amount he currently spends is 300% more than he was 10 years ago.
“By the end of this decade, spending will be about $10 trillion,” Boccia says. “Who will lend that money to the U.S. government?”
Fitch Ratings recently downgraded U.S. government debt.
“Rating agencies and investors are starting to realize that the federal budget is highly unsustainable,” she points out.
It is certainly so. Politicians voted to spend far more money than the government has ever spent.
On the other hand, so far nothing terrible has happened.
“The fact that it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen,” Boccia says. “The calculation doesn’t work.”
The biggest reason is Social Security and Medicare.
But when someone suggests cuts, my fellow old men scream, “The government has been deducting Social Security and Medicare money from my paycheck for years. Just give me the money back!”
They don’t realize that by allowing us to live longer, most of us will receive three times what we paid.
But of course, we old people are the biggest voting group.
“Asking a running mate in Congress to reform the retirement rights program is like asking an astronaut in space to have their oxygen cut off,” Boccia said.
So she and the Cato Institute propose a solution. It says Congress should establish an independent commission to make the cuts. That way politicians can say, “Don’t blame me, the committee made the cut!”
It used to work on military bases.
In fact, the military wanted to close some bases. But self-serving lawmakers fought against the state shutdown.
“We can’t close bases like Groton in the middle of a war,” Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman declared.
“The situation on our base is unique,” argued Sen. John Thune, R.S.D.
Ignoring self-serving politicians, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission closed 350 bases.
“It was very successful until Congress banned it,” Boccia said. (Related: John Stossel: College is a scam)
Congress won’t cut it, and Biden never will, so an independent commission may be our only hope.
You have to do something before your debt explodes and ruins your future.
Mr. Stossel posts a new video every Tuesday on JohnStossel.com about the battle between government and freedom. He is the author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Fraudsters, Swindlers, Fraudsters and the Liberal Media’s Scourge”.
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