If you and I did our math the way they do math in Washington at our jobs we would be fired. If we did our math the Washington way on our taxes, we’d be fined or in jail.
We all know the typical Washington math gimmick: Call something a “cut” when you are simply reducing the rate of growth, which itself is based on pure projection, not actual need.
The other Washington gimmick we’re all familiar with is: back-load “cuts” into a ten year reduction plan, claiming you’ve made cuts while absolutely nothing has happened because a future Congress’ budget cannot be prescribed by a current Congress. Ten year budget plans are, by their very nature, fiction.
It turns out that the people who represent us in Washington are even more devious than that when they are talking about budget cuts. From the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/many-2011-federal-budget-cuts-had-little-real-world-effect/2013/02/09/11938e3e-6bc6-11e2-a396-ef12a93b4200_story.html?hpid=z1):
Late on the night of April 8, 2011, Washington’s leaders announced that they’d just done something extraordinary. They had agreed to cut the federal budget — and cut it big.
“The largest annual spending cut in our history,” President Obama called it in a televised speech. To prevent a government shutdown, the parties had agreed to slash $37.8 billion: more than the budgets of the Labor and Commerce departments, combined.
But the bill also turned out to be an epic kind of Washington illusion. It was stuffed with gimmicks that made the cuts seem far bigger — and the politicians far bolder — than they actually were.
In the real world, in fact, many of their “cuts” cut nothing at all. The Transportation Department got credit for “cutting” a $280 million tunnel that had been canceled six months earlier. It also “cut” a $375,000 road project that had been created by a legislative typo, on a road that did not exist.
At the Census Bureau, officials got credit for a whopping $6 billion cut, simply for obeying the calendar. They promised not to hold the expensive 2010 census again in 2011.
Today, an examination of 12 of the largest cuts shows that, thanks in part to these gimmicks, federal agencies absorbed $23 billion in reductions without losing a single employee.
“Many of the cuts we put in were smoke and mirrors,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a hard-line conservative now in his second term. “That’s the lesson from April 2011: that when Washington says it cuts spending, it doesn’t mean the same thing that normal people mean.”
What do you call it when people intentionally misrepresent what they’re doing? I’m pretty sure it’s called “lying.” In a business, if someone is trying to pass off some phony gimmick as real to make the company look better, it’s called “fraud.” In fact, a publicly owned company that cooked the books the way Washington cooks the books would find itself in big trouble with the SEC.
As citizens, we should be outraged. When people in Washington talk about spending cuts we need to stop being nice about it and start calling them liars and charlatans. They are intentionally misrepresenting how they are managing OUR money. If we hired a financial planner to manage our money and they behaved this way, we’d have them arrested AND sue them.
The charlatan-in-chief is about to give his State of the Union address. Apparently, he is going to “pivot” to jobs and the economy. Once more, he will talk about a “balanced approach” asking for balance between revenue (taxes) and spending cuts. Will he acknowledge that we just raised taxes? That doesn’t count. That’s yesterday’s news. It wasn’t enough to make any significant impact (the rich weren’t punished nearly enough), so the government needs more of the money citizens have earned. He’ll propose more “investments” (spending) in order to create jobs (as though the government is the driver of job creation) and he will taut the great spending cuts already in place. Except, they’re not in place. Many of them were fabrications, and even more are in the out years where they will never take place.
New taxes happen NOW. New spending happens NOW. Budget cuts? They aren’t really cuts, and they never really happen. It’s outrageous.