TAMPA, March 1, 2013 – Imagine this: You’re behind on your gas and electric bills. It’s Friday. Unless you make a payment on Monday, your utilities are going to be shut off. Your house will have no heat and your only option for light after sunset will be candles.
Now, imagine you borrow the money to pay the bills, but instead of paying them, you go out on Friday night visiting friends and handing the money out. “Don’t bother to pay it back!” you exclaim. “We’ve got plenty.”
Monday comes and you can’t pay the utility bills. Your suppliers shut off your electric and gas.
Despite hysterical warnings of economic collapse, sick children without healthcare, cats and dogs living together – you name it – as a result of sequestration, the U.S. government still plans on taking $50 billion dollars that it could use to pay some of its obligations and handing it out to other governments who supposedly need it more. Some media are frantic that it might be cut by 5 percent.
Let’s not forget that these aren’t “cuts” by any definition of the word outside the District of Columbia. A cut would mean that if you spent $1 billion on a particular program in 2012, you will spend $900 million in 2013. The sequester cuts don’t work that way.
Sequestration merely cuts planned increases in spending under D.C.’s “baseline budgeting.” In other words, if you spent $1 billion in 2012 and planned to increase that to $1.2 billion in 2013, sequestration means that you only increase it to $1.1 billion. You still spend more than the year before, just not as much more as you planned.
These are “draconian cuts” in D.C. (Delusional City).
Even if the cuts were actually cuts, it is scary to think that some people really believe that $85 billion in a $3.6 trillion budget would make a difference. For those who do, Nick Gillespie at Reason has some real estate he’d like to speak with you about.
But before you head for the bunker or put a down payment on a famous bridge, I’d like to offer some sensible alternatives to sequestration calamity. Here are three that would solve the sequestration problem with billions to spare:
Sell the national parks. President Obama threatens to close them, like every president whose credit limit is threatened. But the parks wouldn’t disappear if the government didn’t own them. Every precedent in human history suggests they’d just be run better by private owners. Some may argue that they wouldn’t be free anymore, but they’re not free now. Their just paid for with taxes, meaning even people who aren’t interested in using them have to pay for them. If the government sold the national parks, they’d be able to put a sizeable payment on the national debt principal and could cut that expense item from present obligations.
Stop all foreign aid. This one seems self-explanatory. Really, how can a government that is forced to shut down justify borrowing money to hand out to other countries that don’t have to pay it back?
Stop occupying Germany. WWII ended in 1945. The USSR crumbled in 1991. The Berlin Wall doesn’t exist anymore. There is a four foot wide concrete inlay in the street where it used to stand. A child can now hop back and forth over it playing “Don’t step on the crack.” What possible reason could there be to spend $100 billion per year stationing troops there? Is anyone worried that the Germans might invade Poland again? If you haven’t noticed, no governments invade other countries anymore besides our own. Bring those troops home, sell whatever the Germans are willing to buy, and declare victory. This move alone cancels out sequestration with $15 billion to spare for “stimulus.”
These are just a few alternatives to the disaster that will supposedly accompany giving the federal government a smaller raise this year. Tragically, most people would view these proposals as crazy but view borrowing money to give away to others as perfectly sane. That’s when you know the end is nigh.
Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.
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