Told Ya So

by Steven F. Hayward

The headline to today’s Washington Post lead story about the budget deal (“Cuts Will Affect Vast Spectrum”) seems like it was straining very hard to avoid bringing to life the punchline to the oldie-but-goodie conservative joke about media coverage (“Women and Minorities Hardest Hit”), but the subhead and much of the reporting bears out what I warned about yesterday: some of the cuts are “accounting gimmicks”:

But some of the worst-sounding trims are not quite what they seem, and officials said they would not necessarily result in lost jobs or service cutbacks. In several cases, what look like large reductions are actually accounting gimmicks.

In one case, the Justice Department’s Crime Victim’s Fund, the spending won’t actually be cut at all; the victims will just get their money in the next fiscal year. The story outlines a little bit of good news for conservatives: cuts to U.N. funding, cuts to four White House “czar” positions, and 55 programs eliminated entirely, though the savings from these 55 programs is only $1 billion.

This latter detail suggests that we should be looking to eliminate more like 555 programs, as a down payment on tackling entitlements.  How about borrowing from the Alinsky playbook, and selecting one spending program a week to “freeze and personalize” and call for a vote to zero out. Make the liberals rack up a string of votes defending subsidies for fruit-juice therapy, sugar-beet growers, or whatever.