The top article on the L.A. Times web page is a scare story about how awfully awfully terrible those horrible sequester “cuts” (which are not really cuts) will be:
When it comes to the nation’s debt, payback time might be here.
Years of low tax rates and rising federal spending, amplified by the devastating economic effect of the Great Recession, have driven the U.S. borrowing tab to more than $16 trillion from less than $1 trillion in 1981.
Deficit reduction has become the dominant issue in Washington. The first major tax increase since 1993 took place last month. And large automatic spending cuts — $1.2 trillion over the next decade — are set to kick in Friday.
Oh, the drama. Why not just say it’s $200 quintillion over 30 years? Ginormous “cuts” in the future that will never happen are a fiction, and the L.A. Times treats them like fact. But it’s a joke. You can’t control anything past this year, and Marc Thiessen explains what’s really going on this year:
The problem with the sequester is not the amount of cuts it requires. Cuts of $85 billion this year is about 2 percent of our $3.5 trillion federal budget, or about nine days of federal spending. Even after the sequester, we will still spend about $15 billion more this year than we did in last year. The sequester does not actually “cut” spending — it simply slows its growth.
At no point does the L.A. Times story put the “cuts” in their proper context — that they aren’t even cuts from last year’s spending. Instead, it’s Scare City:
In addition, government officials said the looming spending cuts would affect most federal programs. The effect would be widespread, hitting state and local programs that depend on federal aid and businesses with government contracts.
But some would directly affect the general public, with the furloughing of government workers leading to fewer food safety inspections, reduced hours at national parks and longer waits at airports.
For example, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the $600-million cut facing the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2013 budget would force the agency to furlough the “vast majority” of its 47,000 employees for at least one day every two-week pay period, reducing staffing at airports and forcing the closure of 100 small air traffic control towers starting around April 1.
“This is very painful for us because it involves our employees, but it’s going to be very painful for the flying public,” LaHood told reporters Friday.
Also, we’re told, the federal government spending less is somehow supposed to hurt the economy:
But Democrats and Republicans, along with many analysts, said the indiscriminate nature of the budget cuts make them a bad move right now when the economy still is struggling to grow.
This is how people stay “informed.” By reading garbage like this.
We have to change it, somehow.