As I discussed in a previous post, there might (or might not) be legitimate reasons for cutting spending on various programs, both due to policy or macroeconomic reasons. But arbitrary budget targets are idiotic: the federal government can no more run out of dollars than Foxboro Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, can run out of points. And arbitrary budget targets have real world consequences, as many fiscal conservatives are suddenly discovering (boldface mine):
As he campaigns for his old Senate seat, George Allen is hammering a theme that has served Virginia Republicans well in recent elections: He wants to lower taxes and reduce government spending…
It is the kind of message that has helped Virginia Republicans capture the governor’s mansion, three congressional seats and control of the legislature in the past three elections.
But Virginia’s recent political behavior is at odds with its heavy economic reliance on federal spending. No state has a higher share of its economy fueled by federal procurement. And Virginia is second, behind Alaska, in the per-capita flow of federal money to its borders. Altogether, federal spending accounted for 38 percent of the Old Dominion’s economic activity in 2009, according to a report by Federal Funds Information for States.
The tension between Virginia’s economic reliance on federal spending and its support for candidates who are determined to cut it is likely to be the defining political issue in the coming election year.
Commies! They want to be all nuanced and shit:
Some lawmakers, concerned about the impact those automatic cuts would have on national security and the jobs that help provide it, have suggested trying to prevent them by disabling the debt-reduction trigger. But President Obama has threatened to veto any effort to back out of the reductions.
“If you look at these cuts, it is not just the amount of the dollars that is a concern, but also the arbitrary way the cuts are done,” said Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), whose district includes huge military installations in Hampton Roads. “The worst thing you can do is reach up and pull a figure and say you are going to cut without any strategic review.”
Although Virginia is the nation’s top recipient of overall federal funding, it ranks at the bottom in terms of the amount of federal money that comes in grants that support basic government functions such as education, law enforcement and health care. So the shape of any potential budget cuts matters almost as much as the size.
If the federal reductions come in the form of aid to states, that would further stress Virginia’s already strained social safety net. Programs involving education, health care, crime prevention and other areas would be scaled back.
“Further cuts in federal discretionary spending would hit states hard,” Cassidy said. “You’re talking about serious cuts to the poorest of the poor.”
I like how defense spending is consider “core” by Republicans, but helping people receive medical treatment and learn are ‘non-essential.’