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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 16, 2013 / 5 Shevat, 5773

Only in Washington could you get away with referring to spending and tax increases as spending 'cuts'

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Would you like to save $20,000 this year? Of course you would. Here's how: Plan a monthlong vacation to Disneyland, and budget $20,000 for the trip. Then don't go. Presto! You just "cut" your family budget by 20 grand.

This sounds absurd — because it is. Yet that is precisely how Washington operates.

A couple of weeks ago, President Barack Obama claimed on national TV that "I cut spending by over a trillion dollars in 2011." But as many people quickly pointed out, in fiscal 2011 federal spending rose from $3.4 trillion to $3.6 trillion. Nevertheless, the President repeated the claim on Jan. 2, insisting that "last year we started reducing the deficit through $1 trillion in spending cuts."

What he meant was that in 2011 he agreed to "cut" spending in future years, in much the same way canceling a future vacation "cuts" your own budget. It is a fiction necessary to sustain the president's pose that he wants a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction.

That is also nonsense. Take the midnight deal to avert the "fiscal cliff," which the White House says will reduce the deficit $737 billion. Of that amount, $620 billion comes from raising taxes. Some balance.

The pretense of balance looks even worse when you pick apart other loaded language. In Washington, a "balanced approach" combines tax increases and spending cuts in roughly equal measure. Pause and ask yourself: What's missing from that analysis?

Exactly right: revenue. Why omit revenue? Because including it shows the deficit is caused by too much spending, rather than too little taxing. Take the Bush tax cuts. While they did lower government revenue temporarily and slightly — from $2 trillion in 2000 to $1.89 trillion in 2004 — revenue soon bounced back, and in 2007 reached a historic high of $2.6 trillion. In nominal terms, that's a 30 percent increase — in seven years — despite the tax cuts.

Trouble is, during the same period spending grew even faster, from $1.8 trillion to $2.7 trillion (a 50 percent increase).

The recession kicked the stuffing out of government receipts, which were about $2.5 trillion last year. Yet federal revenue is expected to rise to $3.3 trillion by 2015 and $4.3 trillion by 2020. That is a nominal 72-percent increase — in only eight years.

Spending, meanwhile, has continued to scream upward like a missile, rising from $1.8 trillion in 2000 to $3.8 trillion last year. Nevertheless, Democrats and progressives are trying to sell the fairy tale that spending cuts account for the bulk of recent deficit reduction. The Center for American Progress, for instance, claims "nearly three-quarters" of deficit reduction to date results from spending cuts.

But that's highly debatable. First, there has been no deficit reduction to date. The deficit reduction being discussed supposedly will take place over the next few years. More important: While certain federal programs have seen, or will see, small year-over-year reductions in appropriations and outlays, regarding the budget as a whole the "cuts" are cuts of the not-going-to-Disneyland sort: They merely reduce the rate of future projected spending growth.

To see how, consider what the budget for future years looked like in August 2010, before all of the supposed cuts that have been agreed to, and what the budget looks like now, after the fiscal-cliff deal and all the other changes.

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, using figures from the Congressional Budget Office, two years ago Washington expected to spend $4.26 trillion in 2015. Now the projections suggest Washington will spend $4.30 trillion in 2015. Either way, that's an increase from the current $3.8 trillion.

It's the same story for 2020. After everything Congress and the president have agreed to, spending in 2020 is still projected to be $5.1 trillion — which is 34 percent more than we spent in 2012. So how can anyone claim to be cutting spending? Because two years ago, Washington had planned to spend $5.6 trillion in 2020. Since it now expects to spend less than that sum, that qualifies as a "cut," at least in the no-trip-to-Disney sense.

Granted, these numbers don't account for inflation. But inflation is so low it's not likely to change the real spending trajectory from upward to downward. The figures also assume the sequester cuts imposed by the Budget Control Act will never take place. Given what has just transpired, that assumption seems fairly safe.

The duplicity doesn't even end there. A few weeks ago Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner claimed the administration had made $600 billion in spending cuts to entitlements. That claim was based on what the administration calls savings in mandatory programs. But as The Associated Press notes, those "savings" included elements such as $60 billion in added revenue from a "financial crisis responsibility fee" and an additional $27 billion in "increase(ed) employee contribution(s)" to federal retirement programs.

In other words: tax increases.

Only in Washington could you get away with referring to spending and tax increases as spending "cuts." Perhaps it's time those inside the Beltway stopped getting away with it.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




01/09/13: Obama begins his second term, Bush's fourth
01/07/13: Who's Attacking the Constitution Now?
01/03/13: Why, historically, January is the perfect time to debate the filibuster
12/26/12: When libs devalue diversity
12/20/12: Mark Your Calendars
12/13/12: Gun control, ad infinitum
12/11/12: Fracking can help fix the CO2 problem
12/06/12: Let's open the door to lots more immigration
12/04/12: Who's watching the kids? Just about everyone
11/29/12: The Real Middle-Class Champion was Mocked and Opposed
11/26/12: It's time to cut a deal on the budget
11/20/12: The case for a carbon tax
11/15/12: Cue the hysterics. Reports of Democracy's Death Greatly Exaggerated
11/07/12: The $4,000 Trash Can: We need regulation, but not this much
10/23/12: The Ballad of Islamist Rage Boy
10/17/12: Undermining the values that enable people in poverty to escape it? Sadly, yes
10/11/12: How Much Is This Tax Cut Gonna Cost Me, Doc?
10/04/12: Warrantless spying skyrockets under Obama
08/20/12: The wrong side absolutely must not win
08/14/12: America was not built on dirt alone
08/02/12: Libs Discover Their Inner Cheney
07/30/12: Feds want to help you --- whether you want help or not
07/23/12: Barack Obama, Storyteller-in-Chief
07/23/12: Nation's worst outsourcer? You
07/19/12: Listen up, America: You need to knuckle under
07/12/12: Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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