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Why ‘Across the Board Spending Cuts’ are not the Answer

To some on the right, any spending cut at the Federal level is a good thing. And that premise is hard to disagree with.

But not all spending cuts are created equal. There is a dark side to non-specific, across the board spending cuts. The budget amendment offered by Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is a case in point.

My Congressman, Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been receiving some less than flattering press because he and over 90 other Republicans voted to kill this Amendment.

And yes, Cantor “voted with Pelosi” on this. That much is true. But their votes were cast for far different reasons.

Pelosi, if left to her own accord, would never see a dime in federal spending cut. Period. Onwards and upwards. Government is the answer to all problems, large and small. To Pelosi and her ilk, a budget “cut” is any slowdown in the rate of government growth. And cost savings to Progressives simply means shifting dollars from Defense to more social spending.

Cantor, on the other hand, and the 91 Republicans that voted with him against the Blackburn Amendment are not members of the Pelosi Caucus. Cantor’s YouCut Project is proof.

While it is true that across the board spending cuts have worked well in the past, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times they have a changed!

As Marsha Blackburn’s hometown newspaper The Tennessean put it:

Twenty-six states, including Tennessee, recently enacted across-the-board spending cuts, and such cuts were used successfully during the Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman administrations, Blackburn said. She has proposed across-the-board spending cuts every session since arriving in the House in 2003.

“It has a history of working,” she said. “Across-the-board spending reductions are a very responsible way for us to do this.”

And we don’t disagree that it has worked in the past.

But consider that the Progressives are masters at using Conservatives good intentions as a weapon and you begin to understand what 92 Republicans, including Cantor, already know. (Reference the last Government shutdown.)

The Founding Fathers intended the Federal Government to have a symbiotic relationship with the country. A small entity working for the common good of all, doing the things that individual states would find difficult or impossible to do well.  These were enumerated in the Constitution.

At some point, perhaps beginning with Woodrow Wilson, the DNA of the symbiote that was our Federal Government was altered. It has become a parasite with long tentacles invading every part of our lives through regulation down to the state and local levels.

Like it or not, these tentacles must first be untangled before the parasite can be safely throttled.

Across the board spending cuts will be used by the left to inflict maximum pain at the state and local level as retribution for daring to challenge the beast. What this means is that the first targets of departmental cuts will be mandates imposed on state and local governments and funded, fully or partially, by the Federal Government.

So states already struggling to balance budgets will face new unfunded mandates. Wisconsin will, no doubt, be targeted for a large reduction in Federal dollars which is the equivalent of putting a match to gasoline. More cuts, more layoffs and Republicans will be blamed by the media.

Let’s not forget who is in charge of the various Federal Agencies and Departments that will be forced to make the actual decisions on what to cut!

Philosophically, Constitutionally and morally an across the board spending cut seems to be an easy way to achieve the goal of cutting federal spending. Unfortunately, the way the cuts will be implemented by the Obama Administration will prove excruciating for conservative states, as they will receive a disproportionately large share of the cuts. Let me repeat that:  Conservative run states will receive a disproportionately large share of the across the board cuts.

An across the board cut will give the Democrats who are warning that Republican budget cuts will stall or reverse a recovery a means to make this come true. They will target the cuts where they will do the most damage to the economy. And then say “I told you so”. The insidious nature of the Democrats plot to halt the recovery will be suppressed by the mainstream-media, who will blame Republican budget cuts.

And if the Democrats and media play their cards just right, 2012 will be a banner year for Democrats. And Republicans will once again be in the minority and the Blackburn “across the board” spending cuts will be dwarfed by the massive spending required to “repair the damage Republicans inflicted on the economy“.

And Government Controlled Health Care will become a reality, as will Cap and Trade, Card Check and the full blown Progressive Agenda will finally be implemented with even more insidious tentacles than before. This time reaching so deep even the Constitution can’t protect us.

No, Cantor is right on this. We must do this right or we are in danger of losing the country forever. The knee-jerk reaction in some Conservative circles who see this as Cantor voting the same way as Pelosi is simply short-sighted. We must not give the left a means to turn our desire to put the Federal Government back into Pandora’s box into a tool for bigger government.

Precision cuts, targeted and directed, along with repealing bad law that enables Federal tentacles to reach deep into our lives must be carefully and meticulously pulled back ensure we do no harm.

To those who insist on holding Congressman Cantor’s feet to the fire, I say, please do! They all need to be held accountable and realize that the voters are watching. But bear in mind, this is a complicated process that will take time. It must be done correctly or we will make things worse in the long run.

The Democrats gave us a prime example of why rushing and jerking knees is ill advised with ObamaCare. We must resist the urge to make the same mistake.

But the true test of the mettle of those who promise to get our fiscal house in order will be on the entitlement debacle. While we argue about a few measly billion (which should be a contradiction in terms), Social Security, Medicare and the Interest on the National Debt are each eating us alive. I have yet to see anyone, including Eric Cantor, address the real problem. Of course we must go slow on this as well, but we are presently going full speed in reverse on these, the largest of our problems.

And I give the Republican Leadership, including Cantor and John Boehner, an epic fail in this area. Nobody wants to blink first on this, but someone has to blink!


About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

16 Responses to “Why ‘Across the Board Spending Cuts’ are not the Answer”

  1. I agree, we need to zero in on useless spending ..

  2. ALL spending. Even some of the spending that is not completely useless needs to go.

  3. Karen says:

    Stop shilling for Cantor! Right now our libailities are so in advance of our receipts that ALL spending needs to be cut. If we can’t afford it, WE CAN’T AFFORD IT! The principled argument ends there.

    Cantor stopped that bill for one reason: he wants to be able to cut the programs his opponents support and keep fundign the ones that promote his power base. He’s no more concerned with fiscal discipline than he was when he rammed all of Bush’s overspending down the throats of genuine concervatives in the GOP rank and file.

    Eric Cantor helped cost the GOP its last majority. And he’s on track to do it again.

    • Tom White says:

      Karen, that is simply absurd.

      If you think that an across the board spending cut is going to save any money, you are naive.

      Here is a hypothetical example of what your “across the board” spending cuts will look like.

      A government agency that is in charge of the school lunch program mandated by the Feds for children whose parents make below a certain level must cut $2 million. This is a Federally Funded mandate that every school must follow, but the money is paid by the Feds. This is how they will do it:

      Virginia will lose $1.5 million in funding as will Wisconsin. The extra million will be used to hire 10 new federal workers at $100K each to monitor compliance in Va and Wisconsin. Net savings $2 million as required. Net unfunded pension liability for the 10 new workers – $4 million.

      In addition, Virginia and Wisconsin schools now have a $1.5 million shortfall each due to a now UNfunded Federal Mandate. Your property taxes will rise and the government spends even more money than NOT cutting.

      Here is what Cantor wants to do:

      Eliminate 20 workers sitting on their hands watching porn all day making $100K each. Savings – $2 million PLUS unfunded pensions.

      There is a right way and a wrong way.

      You are apparently one of the Cantor hating group that even if he cut spending to 1908 or 1808 levels would still accuse him of having some nefarious plan to hold onto his power.

      The laws that have been made over the past couple of decades are intentionally loaded with land mines and poison pills that make defunding worse than continuing to fund them. Many of these need to be disarmed before they can be eliminated, either through repeal or amendment. Who better than Cantor to understand how to diffuse these laws? He was there when they were armed. He more than likely used the same tactic. Now he must fix what was broken.

      Perhaps you have conveniently forgotten that Cantor was doing what he was elected to do the last decade. The party decided “Compassionate Conservatism” was the way to woo the “independents” and that the far right had caused the party to decline. Voters elected Bush and Cantor. In Va – by pretty good margins. The mandate was clear. Be Democrat’s lite.

      Did you picket Cantor’s office when he and Bush pushed Part D? No? I didn’t either. No one did. We thought it was the right move.

      Now we realize that the “independents” or unaffiliated voters are simply mindless drones, a leaderless pack of dogs looking for a leader with a strong conviction and a compass. And they really don’t care which direction they go as long as the leadership is strongly convinced it is the right way. That is how the Progressives elected Obama. Ronald Reagan had the same ability to get the masses to follow him, but there was substance and true leadership in the right direction with Reagan.

      Now that we know the problem, that squishy Republicans like McCain and Bush do not appeal to the independents, we move back to the right.

      Again, Cantor is taking direction and doing what the voters want.

      The fact that he also uses his brain to make sure we don’t fall into a trap is a plus. 91 Republicans voted with Cantor on this and they understand that “cut, cut, cut” can be worse.

      And if you were intellectually honest and not a shill for another candidate, you would admit that, too.

      But, as I mentioned in the post, the cuts are righteous and wise. I have no problem with that. But they are not even close to being enough. I DO fault Cantor for not insisting on $1 Trillion in cuts, but to get at the real money you must go after entitlements.

      The House has a budget that will be out in the next few weeks. That is the real test of the new majority. $100 billion is pocket change. And much of what is being done now is not going to make a bit of difference in the long run. Cutting $62 billion, or $100 billion is worthless when Obama tosses in another $1.4 TRILLION in deficit spending.

      You and I are arguing about Tic-Tacs.

  4. Kailey says:

    I disagree completely, and that’s way you probably won’t approve my comment.I think the less the state spends and the more decent budget cuts are made, the more chances are for the US to regain it’s balance.Because the way I see it now, we are spending a lot of the citizens money to keep a dead carcass alive.

    • Tom White says:

      Kailey;

      First, I don’t approve messages before they post. They just post when you write them. I have spam filters that sometimes hold comments for approval if they trip the filter, but that’s it.

      Second, I welcome comments that do not agree with me. We all have different views and opinions.

      And you may be surprised to learn that we agree on this issue. I say we MUST cut spending and what our leaders are talking about cutting is peanuts compared to what we must do.

      I think the places where we differ are in who controls the cuts. If the across the board cuts proposed by Marsha Blackburn were specifically targeted at payroll of the departments, office expenses and such, I would be in favor of this. But to allow Democrats to decide what to cut is simply a very bad idea. There are ways to cut spending in the short term that will actually increase spending in the future. That is what I want to avoid.

      If our leaders don’t have the courage and desire to dive in and look at what can be cut on a department level, then I am not opposed to across the board cuts that are narrow and specific to be sure they are actually cuts that will save us money.

      And another thing the Blackburn Amendment left out was oversight and approval of what gets cut.

      Would it really do us any good to cut money from a program at the Federal level that will then have to be funded by states? This would most likely result in a tax increase at state levels in a recession. Not a good idea.

      I voted for someone to go in and get their hands dirty, not to take the easy way out and let someone else decide what to do.

      And across the board cuts have another nasty characteristic. They shift the blame from our elected officials to unelected bureaucrats.

      I want cuts. I want meaningful cuts and I want accountability for those doing the cutting. In some cases, there is so much waste in a department that cutting 50% is not enough, while there are others that 3% is too much. Who do we hold responsible when there is still waste?

      The GAO report that came out yesterday is proof positive that we need targeted cuts. These are a good start and a hell of a lot more than the “across the board” cuts would do.

      Another down side to the across the board method is it allows the elected officials to cut a few dollars and say “mission accomplished”. It is just not a serious plan to cut serious money.

      Do you really think that cutting 3% from Planned Parenthood or NPR is good enough? I don’t! But that is all we will get with the Blackburn Amendment.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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