Prosperity the goal, but cuts — not tax hikes — the way to get there
February 27, 2013 12:00 AM | 2340 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“We can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” Obama told workers at a nuclear submarine facility Tuesday in Newport News, Va., as he blasted Congress while trying to woo public support for his position on the sequestration battle.

Well, here’s some news for Mr. Obama: We can’t just tax our way to prosperity, either. It’s been tried over and over through the years, by liberal governments here and abroad, and it has never worked.

The sequestration scenario calls for across-the-board cuts, starting Friday, to federal agencies totaling $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Those cuts would be split 50-50 between domestic and defense spending. There’s no dispute that it would amount to a meat-cleaver approach to trying to rein in the national debt, which has ballooned during the Obama years to $16 trillion.

In previous budget battles, federal agencies fought against cuts to their funding by a ploy called “turning out the lights on the Washington Monument.” The theory was that a public aroused by the capital’s great monuments gone dark would demand Congress resolve the problem and get the spotlights back on. It usually worked.

Federal agencies are preparing a variation of the same strategy this time.

Pentagon officials said 800,000 civilian employees worldwide would be furloughed one day a week for 22 weeks, an effective pay cut of 20 percent. The uniformed military is exempt from the sequester, but cuts in training, maintenance and equipment replacement will result in what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called “a serious erosion of readiness across the force,” specifically, that by the end of the year, assuming this thing drags on that long, two-thirds of the Army’s combat brigades will be unfit for deployment.

We’re sure the president’s really broken up about that.

The FBI said it would have to furlough 2,285 employees, including 775 agents, because of the cuts.

The Federal Aviation Administration will furlough 47,000 employees, including air traffic controllers, for an average of 11 days just as the summer travel season is picking up.

Among the 100,000 Treasury employees facing furloughs are Internal Revenue Service clerks and agents just as the tax season goes into full swing, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The public will be affected in ways it might not have expected. The law requires federal inspectors to be on duty at meat and poultry plants. With the inspectors facing 15-day furloughs, many of the nation’s 6,000 meat-production facilities may have to close down temporarily, affecting the supply of meat and chicken.

And ICE announced Tuesday that it has released an unspecified number of detainees who were awaiting deportation. We’re sure President Obama’s really broken up about that one, too.

In essence, what we have here is a president who, even though he was the one who first proposed employing the sequestration process, now admits he’d much prefer to approach the debt debacle by raising revenues (i.e. taxes) even higher, rather than by any domestic-side spending cuts.

President Obama likes to brag about how he “rescued the economy,” although we’re a long way from the “prosperity” he talks about. One thing is for sure, though: We won’t get there by raising taxes every time we turn around. That knife the president is (figuratively) brandishing against his Republican foes on Capitol Hill would be put to much better use as a tool with which to cut federal spending.
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Oliver G. Halle
February 27, 2013
I couldn't agree more with Scott A. Bashing Obama is not a substitute for facts and a reasoned argument. Funny how the largest stimulus package in history, the one put together to fund WW II, not only got our economy humming like never before, it created an upward mobility middle class. And if the editorial writer bothered to study macro economics, he would know that once the economy was restored with jobs that provided tax revenue, much of that revenue would go back to paying off the debt.

It's also interesting that the MDJ has not objected to the congress last year overruling the BRAC recommendations to close any number of military bases that the Pentagon says we don't need and which are nothing more than a jobs program. The same voice of silence has no problem with tax money going to Lockheed, which is a pass through company, to build airplanes that the DOD says we don't need. Spending tax payer money is fine with the editorial pages as long as it's local. But they know that if it dries up, the local economy is going to feel it, and it will be an economic kick to the groin.
Scott A
February 27, 2013
A factually flawed editorial. I would be curious to see the data on the 'We can’t just tax our way to prosperity, either. It’s been tried over and over through the years, by liberal governments here and abroad, and it has never worked.' Pulitzer Prize winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman disagree as would the Liberal government of Iceland, which has easily recovered the economic downturn and has an economy growing faster than the US. Historically tax rates are at an all time low, along with job creation. If low taxes were the answer we would be at an all-time low in unemployment. Return us to the rates of 1950 and let the American Middle Class grow again.
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