“The sequester debate illustrates a central contradiction of progressive economic thought. On the one hand, progressives believe the U.S. economy is so fragile that even the mere threat of cuts in government spending would be disastrous. On the other hand, they believe this same economy is so resilient that billions upon billions of dollars in regulatory costs have no effect on growth at all.”
by John Berlau
Are you watching the Sequester Show? In today’s Wall Street Journal, my friend Kim Strassel says the sequester drama has “jumped the shark,” a phrase used when a TV show loses popularity. As I have pointed out in OpenMarket before, the phrase originated with “Happy Days,” in which many a fan pinpointed the exact moment of the show’s descent to an episode in which Fonzie literally jumped over a shark with water skis.
Yet, I’m not sure “jump the shark” is the best phrase to describe what’s happened with the Sequester Show. It may not have jumped the shark, but changed formats and become even more popular — albeit to the detriment of the Obama administration. Continue reading
Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives — the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. It is, however, inaccurate to accuse the Hysteric in Chief of crying “Wolf!” about spending cuts under the sequester. He is actually crying “Hamster!”
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! Continue reading