“My One-Item Christmas List: A Government That Stops Playing Santa”

I’ve got a
new column up
at Time’s Ideas section. Here’s the opening:

Forget a new car, Beats by Dre, or even affordable health care. You know
what I really, really, really want for Christmas?

I want a government that spends less money. I’m not alone in
such a wish. Even President Obama, who has asked for more and more
spending in each of his annual budget proposals, has called the
nation’s long-term spending patterns “unsustainable.”

We should be cutting small-ticket, medium-ticket, and big-ticket
items, and we can do it in a way that doesn’t kick out Tiny Tim’s
crutches or leaves us open to terrorist attacks. But first we need
to understand the magnitude of the growth in spending over the past
10 years.

In 2003, the federal government shelled out about $2.2 trillion
in nominal dollars. In 2013, it spent about $3.5
. I have trouble figuring out exactly where that extra
$1.3 trillion a year is going, but I do know that whatever money is
spent by the generous souls in Washington, D.C. isn’t
printed by elves. It comes from current and future taxes that you
and I—or our children and grandchildren—will pay. According to the
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections for the next 25 years,
the government will never come close to matching outlays with
revenues (which CBO already assumes will be significantly higher
than the historical average for the past 40 years).

So the only path to sustainability is to cut spending. But where
to cut?

Please read the whole thing.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/my-one-item-christmas-list-a-government

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