No Time to Go Wobbly On Spending Cuts

These are dark times for advocates of sane fiscal policy. The President and other Democrats have interpreted the recent election as a mandate to raise taxes, and if the past is any indication, the instinct from Republicans will be to cave. As if that isn’t bad enough, there’s the possibility of the sequester cuts being undone. Failing to hold the line on both taxes and spending would be the worst of all outcomes. That’s why CF&P recently joined NTU and 20 other taxpayer advocacy groups and free market organizations urging Congress not to go squeamish on the sequester.

In particular, the Coalition letter worries that concerns over defense budget cuts could undermine efforts at achieving fiscal discipline. The signatories suggest that while the exact nature and distribution of the spending cuts  can be re-arranged, they should not be reduced overall:

We understand there are concerns that the sequester will disproportionately affect the defense budget, with 50 percent of the cuts affecting security spending, which accounts for only 20 percent of the overall federal budget. However, this is a product of lawmakers’ unwillingness to consider serious entitlement reform that would confront the true drivers of our debt. Indeed, the BCA prevents practically any reform to mandatory spending, providing additional leverage for spendthrift lawmakers who want to claim the sequester’s impact on discretionary spending is too bitter a pill to swallow.

Furthermore, several of the signatories below have identified specific program savings in the defense and homeland security categories that could amply substitute for the sequester’s so-called “across-the-board” approach. Therefore, while it may be prudent to revise the actual composition of the cuts, it would be unacceptable to reduce or delay the overall amount of spending reductions. As Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) recently stated, “… the only thing that’s worse than cutting national defense is not having any scheduled cuts at all take place.”

The full letter is available here.

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