By Bill Wilson — It is convenient that just two days after the New York Times publishes an editorial calling for sequestration to be eliminated, the Obama Administration is dutifully responding with calls for it to again be delayed.
The fact is, sequestration has already been delayed in the fiscal cliff deal, costing taxpayers $24 billion. No more delays. Taxpayers were promised these cuts in return for increasing the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion in August 2011. In the meantime, if the total $53.4 billion of new spending for 2013 from the fiscal cliff and Sandy relief are factored in, the $53.8 billion of actual sequester cuts due this year has already been pretty much offset.
The Administration argues that cuts to government spending somehow hurt the economy, when in reality including spending as a component of GDP is a gross distortion of economic reports. When spending increases, GDP increases, and when spending decreases, GDP decreases, reflecting a Keynesian bias of the first order in favor of government spending. The fact that it has been done for decades by the Bureau of Economic Analysis does not justify the practice when its only use is for elected officials like Obama to justify more ‘stimulus.’
After World War II, when defense spending was ramped down, GDP contracted by 1.1 percent in 1945, by a whopping 10.9 percent 1946, and then again in 1947 by 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, personal consumption and private investment was increasing substantially after the war ended. Was the economy contracting, or was spending simply cut? The fact is, the war ending and the substantial decrease of government spending were both boons for the global economy, which after the war the economy grew dramatically.
Even if government spending is excluded as a component of GDP, in the fourth quarter of 2012 the private sector only grew by a 1.3 percent real rate. That is nothing to write home about. It is slow, tepid, and proves that record deficit-spending by the Administration every year is doing nothing to benefit the private sector, which employs 85 percent of the nation’s workforce.
To truly help the private sector, the budget should be balanced, freeing up resources for the private sector. Health, labor, and environmental regulations restricting business expansion ought to be rolled back. And sound money must be restored, bringing an end to the Fed’s quantitative easing programs. Sadly, the Obama Administration is interested in none of the above.
Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Bill on Twitter at @BillWilsonALG.