Writing from Orlando, Florida
The November 16, 2005 Wall Street Journal contains an editorial titled “Fiscal Chicken Hawks.” This article reveals the trivial amounts of federal spending that is being fought over: “The reality is that over the next five years the total federal budget is expected to exceed $13.855 trillion. The Republican faux-Slimfast plan basically erases the rounding error, or the $0.055 trillion, and leaves the $13.8 trillion untouched. To put it another way, the GOP plan reduces the increase in the federal budget by a microscopic 0.25% over the next five years.”
Faced with even this barely noticeable reduction in spending, advocates of big government are in full fighting trim: “Their Congressional leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, have denounced even these paltry GOP savings as ‘shameful’ and ‘immoral.’ They even brought a dozen Katrina Hurricane victims to Washington, trotted them out in front of the national media, and proceeded to lambaste Republicans for shredding the social safety net.”
The reality is that federal spending, even under a Republican President and Republican-controlled Congress, has been increasing rapidly, and will probably continue the same way: “For the past five years federal spending on anti-poverty programs has increased by 41%. Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, is scheduled to grow by 7.9% a year, and under the GOP plan it would grow by 7.5% a year. Either way the program expands by more than double the rate of inflation through 2011.”
But there is good news. By switching to GEICO, I saved a lot of money on my car insurance. Seriously, our own home state senator has been up to some good work: “Senators Sam Brownback of Kansas and John McCain of Arizona have joined with five first-term Republicans to propose some genuine cost cutting. Their plan would delay the Medicare prescription drug bill, adjust Medicare benefits to seniors with incomes of more than $80,000 a year (or $160,000 for a couple), cancel highway pork projects, end dozens of obsolete spending programs, and cut all domestic discretionary spending programs by 5%.”
Federal and state spending continues to grow rapidly. Politicians seem unable to resist its allure. If we would realize that almost all this spending is taking money from one person and giving it to someone else to whom it does not belong, we could evaluate this spending in its proper moral context.