Cato Institute:Spending is our problem Part 6

But we also know that it is difficult to convince politicians to do what’s right for the nation. And if they don’t change the course of fiscal policy, and we leave the federal government on autopilot, then America is doomed to become another Greece.

The combination of poorly designed entitlement programs (mostly Medicare and Medicaid) and an aging population will lead to America’s fiscal collapse.

People think that we need to raise more revenue but I say we need to cut spending. Take a look at a portion of this article from the Cato Institute:

The Damaging Rise in Federal Spending and Debt

by Chris Edwards

Joint Economic Committee
United States Congress

Joint Economic CommitteeUnited States Congress

Added to cato.org on September 20, 2011

This testimony was delivered on September 20, 2011.

Conclusions

Federal spending is soaring, and government debt is piling up at more than a trillion dollars a year. Official projections show rivers of red ink for years to come unless policymakers enact major budget reforms. Unless spending and deficits are cut, the United States is headed for economic ruin as growth falls and rising debt threatens further financial crises.

Policymakers should turn their full attention to long-run spending reforms. They should begin terminating the many unneeded and damaging federal programs that draw resources out of the private sector and sap the economy’s strength. The essays on Cato’s website http://www.DownsizingGovernment.org describe many federal programs that produce low or negative returns. Programs often create economic distortions, damage the environment, restrict individual freedom, or have high levels of fraud and abuse.

I’ve proposed a plan to cut spending on entitlements, defense, and discretionary spending over 10 years to balance the budget.25 Spending reforms should aim to revive constitutional federalism and reverse the expansion of the federal government into areas better left to state and local governments, businesses, charities, and individuals.

Some analysts worry that spending cuts would hurt the economy, but other high-income nations have cut spending with very positive results. In the mid-1990s, for example, Canada faced a debt crisis caused by runaway spending — similar to our current situation. But the Canadian government changed course and slashed total spending 10 percent in just two years — which would be like us chopping annual spending by $360 billion in two years.26 Total government spending in Canada was cut by more than 10 percentage points of GDP over a decade. The Canadian economy did not sink into a recession as Keynesian economists might fear, but instead was launched on a 15-year economic boom.

A recent Joint Economic Committee report summarizes other international examples of spending cuts coinciding with strong economic growth.27 Thus, spending cuts should not be viewed as bad tasting medicine needed only to cure our debt disease, but as an opportunity to create positive and lasting benefits to the economy and society.

Thank you for holding these important hearings.


Notes:
.
25 http://www.DownsizingGovernment.org/balanced-budget-plan.
26 See http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/cutting-government-the-canadian-way and see http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/canadas-spending-cuts-and-economic-growth.
27 Joint Economic Committee, “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy,” Republican Staff, March 15, 2011

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