Matt Welch is — sigh — depressingly on-the-money:
In fiscal year 2000, Clinton’s last as president, the federal government spent $1.77 trillion. Multiply that number by two, and you’re almost to federal spending in FY 2010: $3.72 trillion in Obama’s first wholly owned budget. If we had limited government’s growth—not actually cut government, mind you, but limited its growth—at the rates of inflation and population-expansion, the 2010 federal budget would have been a much more affordable $2.50 trillion. Instead of “fiscal cliff” on Jan. 1, 2013, we’d be facing a federal budget surplus.
Faced with the overwhelming evidence that the debt and deficit problem is definitionally a spending problem, negotiators and commentators are talking about everything except cutting the size of government.
We’re talking about talking about maybe reforming entitlements somewhere down the line. No cuts, mind you, just a reduction in growth. But Obama has already proposed to increase welfare spending by another 30% over his final four years — even while assuming economic growth and Americans getting back to work.
The economy is in the tank? Jack up welfare spending. Happy days are here again? Jack up welfare spending some more.
We live in the Welfare State. Act accordingly.