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Reason Alert: Spending Cuts, Throwing the Bums Out

Plus, Christine O'Donnell and global warming

September 17, 2010

- Why Focus on the Bush "Tax Cuts" Over the Bush "Spending Increases"?
- Throwing the Bums Out Is Harder Than It Looks
- Coming Soon: Reason Magazine In 3D
- Blue and Red States Look for Ways Around Health Care Bill
- The Global Warming Establishment Needs More than Cosmetic Fixes
- New At Reason  

Why Focus on the Bush "Tax Cuts" Over the Bush "Spending Increases"?
"So if the feds were generally pulling in more bucks each year [during the 2000s] - even with those tax cuts that so decimated federal revenue - where did the deficits come from? Oh, that's right: From massively expanded spending that happened both under a lying GOP Congress and a feckless Democratic majority. The story of the Bush years isn't to be found on the revenue side of the ledger, but on the spending side [see charts in article]. This talk about whether tax cuts are irresponsible given the fiscal pickle we're in is nothing more than a way of diverting attention from what Milton Friedman identified years ago as the true cost of government: how much the government shells out in a given year. We're on the hook for it, either through higher taxes now or higher taxes later. We're in a lousy economy and most folks would agree that it's not a great idea to hike taxes or create huge new entitlements and regulations that will take years to figure out. That sort of action creates exactly the sort of uncertainty that freezes people. So do desperate attempts to keep house prices from falling, zombified banks and car companies from going belly up, etc. The one thing the federal government could conceivably do is bring some commitment to freezing or rolling back spending and intervention to some baseline. The first rule when you find yourself in a deep hole? Bitch and moan that it's the other guy's fault. The second rule? Stop digging. Yes, I know, it's unlikely but not impossible that the feds would actually stop spending (go check Clinton's first four years). But this much is certain: To talk about how 'tax cuts' inexorably add to deficits ignores the amount of tribute that poured into D.C. throughout most of the '00s. It's a fundamentally faulty and fruitless discussion." - Reason.com Editor Nick Gillespie

Throwing the Bums Out Is Harder Than It Looks
Reason magazine's Katherine Mangu-Ward writes, "In 1980, the re-election rate in the Senate was 55 percent. But that year was a dramatic outlier. In the 30 years since, re-election rates have never fallen below 75 percent for the Senate, and rates fell below 90 percent only once in the House.  Structural guarantees of re-election are mostly to blame for the predictable fizzle of voter rage. But not entirely. Voters are surprisingly indulgent of their own congressmen's foibles. While poll after poll shows that America thinks Congress overall should be ridden out of town on a rail, those same polls show that voters think their own congressman is a pretty good guy or gal who is just trying to do the right thing. (You can see a similar effect in public education, where parents consistently agree that the school system as a whole is deeply flawed, while still sending shiny apples to little Timmy's teacher and singing the praises of their own neighborhood schools.) I have no reason to doubt the professional prognosticators when they say that change in partisan control is coming to Capitol Hill, and I believe the pollsters when they say that Americans are outraged, displeased, and generally annoyed with their representatives. But no matter how dramatic election night may seem, keep in mind that the vast majority of those tossable bums will be boarding planes to fly right back to Washington when it's all over."
Matt Welch: So What Did Christine O'Donnell Run On?
Delaware's O'Donnell Disaster
The Tea Party and the Value of Craziness

Coming Soon: Reason Magazine In 3D
In a couple of weeks the November issue of Reason magazine will be hitting mailboxes and newsstands with a 3D cover and charts that show "How to Slash Government Before it Slashes You" and offering up a series of specific spending cuts.  You'll also get 3D glasses to view special Reason.tv videos on the growing cost of government and what to do about it. You can subscribe to Reason here.
The October Issue of Reason Is Online Now

Blue and Red States Look for Ways Around Health Care Bill
"ObamaCare dramatically increases state Medicaid burdens at a time when local budgets are in deep crisis, asks states to participate in a woefully underfunded bridge insurance program, and pushes state governments to set up complex health care 'exchanges' that must be designed and run according to the administration's standards-standards it has yet to define and can change at whim. The law is a big deal in every way, and the first institutions to absorb the shock are state governments. That's why so many have already begun to resist." - Reason magazine's Peter Suderman examines what the health care care bill requires states to do and how ill-equipped they are to do it.

The Global Warming Establishment Needs More than Cosmetic Fixes
At Forbes.com, Reason Foundation's Shikha Dalmia writes,  "The global warming establishment found itself in hot water last year when leaked e-mails suggested that leading climatologists had massaged data, interfered with the peer review process and engaged in other shenanigans to exaggerate the observed warming. A subsequent whitewash exonerated the scientists involved but further scrutiny debunked other alarmist claims in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control's (IPCC) last assessment report. For example, the IPCC had predicted that the entire 500,000 square km Himalayan glacier range would disappear by 2035. Multiple analyses, including one by the Yale Climate Media Forum - no denialist outfit - found the claim to be perfectly accurate except for two problems. One, the approximate area covered by the glaciers is just 33,000 - not 500,000 - square km as the IPCC stated. And two, the paper from which the IPCC lifted this claim had predicted the shrinkage would occur by 2350, not 2035! (The Yale analysis is well worth a full read.) The IPCC withdrew this claim - dismissing it as one mistake in a voluminous report that didn't affect its overall conclusions. But the bigger problem is not with what the IPCC says but what it doesn't. Even before GlacierGate, many external reviewers had bitterly complained that lead authors of the report's various chapters solicit their opinion only to ignore it in the final summary if it contradicts their conclusions - creating an impression of a faux scientific consensus."
Ronald Bailey: Bjorn Lomborg Denies Global Warming Conversion - I Told You So
 

New At Reason  

Perhaps Skepticism Of The Stimulus Is Based On The Lack Of Definitive Evidence That It Worked

Obama Uses National Security as a Cover for Violating People's Rights

When It Comes to Space, House Republicans Prefer Big Government

John Stossel: Money Is Not What Schools Need

The GOP's Misguided and Unnecessary Attacks on Obama

Why Liberals Are Wrong to Equate Conservatives with Racists

The Pat Tillman Story

Reason.tv Videos  

What We Saw at the 9/12 Tea Party Rally in DC

Nick Gillespie Discusses Post-9/11 Religious Tolerance on PBS Newshour

Adrian Moore on Meg Whitman's Record Campaign Spending on Fox Business

No Accepted Medical Use? Three Perspectives on Medical Cannabis

Chris Chocola - Cutting Spending is a Team Sport

Lex McMahon on the Rise of Mixed Martial Arts

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