Schadenfreude: When ‘Small-Government’ Conservatives Have to Face the Reality of Their Rhetoric

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.”

You don’t say?

The evil part of me says “let the fuckers burn”, but, as always, the devil will take the hindmost:

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.’


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4 Responses to Schadenfreude: When ‘Small-Government’ Conservatives Have to Face the Reality of Their Rhetoric

  1. Hey, according to CNN:

    George Allen (R-Virginia)
    Estimated net worth: $1,828,000 to at least $3,845,000

    So I’m sure he feels their pain.

  2. BioBob says:

    Sorry Bub, but I beg to differ.

    There is a pretty fundamental difference between cutting fundamental functions of the Federal government and all the fluff added for feedapoor, crony capitalism, and other nice but we are broke.

    We could dismantle the dept of education, put the nuclear decontamination portion of the dept of energy back into where it came from and shut it down, eliminate all corporate & agricultural subsidies/welfare, fed pensions and the public would never notice.

    The reality is that you either control the deficit or it controls you and there are no alternatives. It’s pay now by reducing spending voluntarily or pay later by reducing spending because each 1% increase in fed-bond interest increases debt service cost by 250 billion. Paying rates like Italy must today (~7.25%) means almost ALL government expenditure would be paying off debt with almost NOTHING left over. Yep, debt service would be north of 1.25 trillion more than today’s ~1/2 a trillion. Total fed receipts are roughly 2 trillion — do the math.

    And it does not matter simply because default is inevitable.given that nobody seems likely to have the balls to fix it.

  3. JimmyCrackCorn says:

    Grade A Bullshit —
    “..and the public would never notice..” “.. or it controls you and there are no alternatives..”

    A couple of questions.
    First, did you vote for the idiots that supported going into two wars not funded on the books?
    Second, did you vote for the idiots that cut revenue on the claim that lower taxes equals higher revenues? (WTF? Government revenue is taxation.)
    Third, have you in your diatribe suggested how to actually fix the problem?
    Fourth, why did you lump corporate subsidies in with public support?
    Fifth, why didn’t you add the Center for Disease Control and the NIH? Hell, everyone knows vaccines are what cause autism, cancer and voting against right wing gun nuts right.

    Personally I say fu@# the DOD and I guess the Old Dominion state by extension. They do damn little to actually support our infrastructure as a nation. Those idiots gave away Billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can you tell me how many state budgets are below 10 Billion dollars? And of those states how many of them rely on the federal government for fundamental services such as highway dollars, rural electrification support, grants for upgrades to small town sewage treatment plants, support and grants for upgrades to city and rural water supplies, rural fire departments, DOE support for schools in low tax base areas?
    Drop the John Wayne “I’ll make it all by myself” crap and understand you are a part of society and you benefit from the social fabric you work, shit and sleep on.
    Up the bloody tax rate on those making more than $250K.
    Up the SS with holding cutoff and implement a means test to determine whether you need it or not.
    Make GE and their ilk pay taxes. Dear God, why does a huge corporation such as that have the right to use the countries resources and not have to contribute a penny? Do you want to be mean great lets be mean to the CEO’s of companies such as GE. For every penny in taxes they don’t pay take it directly from the CEO’s wealth and salary. Then instead of being mean to someone who is poor you can spread equal opportunity and be mean to some greedy bastard who is screwing the rest of us on a much larger scale.
    Come on Bio provide some real world solutions or go live with the ostriches where you can put your head in the sand.

  4. Hmmm.. says:

    Great post, JimmyCrackCorn!

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