In his column yesterday, George Will articulately and concisely outlined why the American people should not listen to the Beltway hysteria over sequestration:
First, the alleged cuts (in reality, reductions to expected spending) simply aren’t large when compared to the federal budget:
As in: Batten down the hatches — the sequester will cut $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget! Or: Head for the storm cellar — spending will be cut 2.3 percent! Or: Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending! Or: Chaos is coming because the sequester will cut a sum $25 billion larger than was just shoveled out the door (supposedly, but not actually) for victims of Hurricane Sandy! Or: Heaven forfend, the sequester will cut 47 percent as much as was spent on the AIG bailout! Or: Famine, pestilence and locusts will come when the sequester causes federal spending over 10 years to plummet from $46 trillion all the way down to $44.8 trillion! Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama must endure a 5 percent cut!
Second, a succinct summary of how many in Washington have let ideology overcome basic mathematics and fiscal reality – and are pushing it into the media to mislead the American people:
The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering.
Finally, the biggest reason sequestration is necessary but still inadequate:
The sequester’s critics correctly say it is not the most intelligent way to prune government; priorities among programs should be set. But such critics are utopians if they are waiting for the arrival of intelligent government. The real choice today is between bigger or smaller unintelligent government.
Will is 100% correct. The “cuts” in sequestration are anything but, and given the growth in the size and cost of the federal government over the last seven years, it is long past time the budget was balanced. While sequestration fails to accomplish this goal, it is a good first step in the process. Washington won’t consist of the intelligent government all Americans want until it is slimmed down to its proper, constitutional size.
As March 1 gets ever closer, it is time for the big spenders in Washington to either acknowledge the mathematical realities in the budget, or ideologically ignore them. As Will points out, many are joining the side of ideology, to the severe detriment and harm of the American people.