The Sequester and Born-Again Keynesians

Monday, February 25th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt

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What would happen of the federal government were to open a new agency to study the mating habits of a rare species of spiders?  Let’s say for a moment that it would create 10 jobs.  Should we not cut this colossal waste, even though 10 people will be out of a job?  Moreover, if government can simply create jobs by spreading around existing taxpayer capital instead of creating new capital, why shouldn’t we just hire a million people to dig ditches and another million to fill those ditches?

Obviously, the Keynesian argument that government should spend money for the purpose of job creation is absurd.  Government should only spend money because there is a need for that service.  However, whether the service is vital or frivolous, it still requires an outside funding source, and is not an engine of job creation.  As such, we should not be advancing an argument against the sequester that is built upon this notion.

We believe in spending money on a military because we feel that there is a necessity for one and that it is within the purview of the federal government.  We don’t believe in military spending because it creates jobs.  Yet, Republicans have made that the centerpiece of their argument against the sequester.  This allowed Van Hollen to rightfully observe the following during a floor debate several months ago:

“You know, I’ve heard a lot of complaints from our Republican colleagues about the recovery bill and the fact that we had to do some emergency spending to prevent the loss of millions of jobs. You know what? That worked. And here our Republican colleagues here today are saying that we’ve got to make sure the spending cuts don’t take .” […]

“I’m really glad to hear our Republican colleagues say that if we make these kinds of cuts, it’s going to result in lost jobs because you know what? You are right about that.”

Do we really want to go down this road and agree to the premise that government-spawned job creation is our goal?

We all agree that the across-the-board nature of the sequester cuts to the military are dumb.  But they were enacted by the same dumb people who are pursuing its repeal.  The correct path for Republicans is to admit they were wrong about the debt ceiling deal, instead of propagating Keynesian nonsense and setting us up for future tax hikes.  They need to own up to the sequester like big boys, and bite the bullet on the military cuts, as the only means of preventing tax hikes while not falling into the Democrat trap that they helped create in 2011.