Cutting Down the Forest But Keeping the Trees

Cutting Government Spending May Be Popular But There Is Little Appetite For Cutting Specific Government Programs:

“Cutting government spending often sounds like a good idea to many people, and it is a popular rallying cry for many Republicans and Conservatives, but a new Harris Poll underlines how difficult it is. When shown a list of 20 areas of federal government spending, a majority of the public supports cutting only six of them and these do not include the big ticket items that comprise most of the federal budget. Furthermore large majorities oppose cutting Social Security or federal health care programs, which many economists believe are increasing at unsustainable rates…

These results prompt two thoughts. The first is that the big picture – cutting government spending, in general – looks very different than the more detailed picture – cutting specific programs. Many people seem to want to cut down the forest but to keep the trees. The second is that this is not 1980, when President Reagan came to power. At that time there was a much greater appetite for cutting many government programs than there is today. Furthermore it should be noted that, in spite of his rhetoric, Ronald Reagan had great difficulty cutting government spending.”

(Via Harris Interactive.)

When will we be adults about this?

I Thought Tax Cuts were Supposed to Create Jobs

GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says:

“A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday…

[This] report comes on the heels of a similar analysis last week by the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which predicted that the Republican spending cuts would cause even greater damage to the economy, slowing growth by as much as 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of this year.”

(Via Grasping Reality with a Sharp Beak.)

Predictably, the GOP goes after the messenger when it can’t rebut the message.  It’s a surefire way to determine who’s lying or incompetent and who’s not, who’s got a grip on reality and who’s in denial.  And sure enough as I kept reading:

Republican leaders frequently claim that cutting government spending will create jobs by removing the fear of higher taxes from the minds of the nation’s business owners and entrepreneurs…

So far, the Republicans have been unable to marshal an independent analysis that reflects that view. [emphasis mine]

In other words, they are pulling this economic “theory” clean out of their ideological butts.

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