Or as Arnold Kling of Econlib puts it, "Somehow, we could ratchet up spending by hundreds of billions at the drop of a hat. Reducing spending by less than $100 billion becomes Armageddon."


9 April 2011

Editor, Washington Post 1150 15th St., NW Washington, DC 20071

Dear Editor:

Suppose that in a mere three years your family's spending - SPENDING, mind you, not income - jumped from $80,000 to $101,600. You're now understandably worried about the debt you're piling up as a result of this 27 percent rise in spending.

So mom and dad, with much drama and angst and finger-pointing about each other's irresponsibility and insensitivity, stage marathon sessions of dinner-table talks to solve the problem. They finally agree to reduce the family's annual spending from $101,600 to $100,584.

For this 1 percent cut in their spending, mom and dad congratulate each other. And to emphasize that this spending cut shows that they are responsible stewards of the family's assets, they approvingly quote Sen. Harry Reid, who was party to similar negotiations that concluded last night on Capitol Hill - negotiations in which Congress agreed to cut 1 percent from a budget that rose 27 percent in just three years. Said Sen. Reid: "Both sides have had to make tough choices. But tough choices is what this job's all about" ("Government shutdown averted: Congress agrees to budget deal, stopgap funding," April 9).

What a joke.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030





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