Thursday, September 20, 2007

Statements That Will Make You Dumber

This from Dick Cheney in the WSJ:

“We have steadily reduced the annual rate of growth in non-security discretionary spending.”

Now I have already explained why this sort of statement is stupid before but let me rehash: The government could be characterized as an insurance company with a side business in defense. Outlays disproportionately go to Defense, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security (Homeland Security has a healthy and growing budget but it is still relatively small). Only defense is discretionary, which obviously has grown significantly, ergo "non-security spending". The entitlement program outlays are non-discretionary. The only way there will be a "cut in the rate of growth" in entitlement spending is if all of a sudden it becomes really cheap to treat seniors or everybody dies before they are eligible for Social Security; or, you change the relevant statutes that determine entitlement benefits. In fact, the administration did reform Medicare benefits, it added them thus making Medicare more costly. To say that you have decreased discretionary spending is a worthless claim. This administration hasn't done squat in terms of reining in spending.

No comments: