Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How much government spending is enough?

Many Democrats are leery of President Obama's budget that was released this week, mainly because it concedes a political objective of the Republicans that the nation needs to cut spending.

While the Obama plan proposes to raise around $300 in new tax revenues (mostly from the rich), it seeks to cut spending enough so that the annual deficit is reduced by over $1 trillion dollars in ten years.

I wish I could agree with the Obama critics from the left, as I often do:

get out of Afghanistan
cut the defense budget sharply
we need more public sector stimulus; esp. for infrastructure
healthcare reform should have been bolder

...but not in this case.

The Federal government is scheduled to spend over $3 trillion this year.
I'm thinking it is possible for us to somehow make it if we spend "only" $2 trillion.
That would be a massive cut by Washington's standards, but it is needed.

The question would be how to spend that money. What should the priorities be?

But I would think what the government should do is figure out the top-line amount first, pass
that into law, and then divvy it up.

In addition, I would support a balanced budget under normal times. Not like the Republicans in terms of a Constitutional Amendment because clearly the government should run a large deficit during emergencies both real world and economic.

But in years like 2011, the first argument should be on only 1 number. A real number that is the ceiling of federal spending. After that, everything falls under that rubric.

As a true liberal, I think Democrats should reform the government so it works better and more efficient. Republicans seem to live to criticize. We need to get about the business of continually making America better.

We can have a government doing big things the right way on a smaller budget.

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