Democracy and Power 108: Obfuscation
Wherever politics intrudes upon economic life, political success is readily attained by saying what people like to hear rather than what is demonstrably true. Instead of safeguarding truth and honesty, the state then tends to become a major source of insincerity and mendacity. —Hans F. Sennholz
Sequester: Insincerity and Mendacity
In July 2011, at the suggestion of President Obama, Congress passed a number of spending reductions. On March 1, 2013, these reductions will commence. Over the course of ten years, defense and domestic spending will be reduced by approximately $1.2 trillion. Originally, the White House praised these cuts as good governance:
Bipartisan Debt Deal – A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline
In the recent State of the Union address, President Obama proclaimed spending cuts are bad for America:
“That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as ‘the sequester’, are a really bad idea.”
Thus, a win for the economy and budget discipline has radically changed to become “sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts.”
Additionally, in the same State of the Union speech, the President proclaimed reducing spending is bad for economic growth.
“Most Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.”
Well, Mr. President, you and your speech writers are in total disagreement with excellent Harvard economists. Robert Barro, an economist at Harvard, strongly advocates cutting spending and reducing the debt. Barro cites Harvard research, which verifies cutting government spending as a far superior method to improve our economy than increasing taxes.
After studying fiscal stabilization in OECD countries, Alberto Alesina, political economist, has concluded that eliminating fiscal deficits through spending cuts tends to be much better for the economy than eliminating them through tax increases.
Contrary to your latest proclamation, Mr. President, most Americans want reduced spending. Without question, more money spent, saved and invested by every American is better utilized than by the insincerity and mendacity regularly associated with government.