Yesterday I pointed out that the newest element to Glenn Beck's “Plan” for budgetary health, eliminating the Department of Education, will do pretty much nothing to cut federal spending and is basically just conservative “limited government” dogma masquerading as fiscal curative. But Beck is nothing if not determined, and yesterday on Fox News he pushed yet more meaningless cost-cutting fantasies, all the while mocking President Obama for pushing cosmetic spending cuts.
After explaining that what America needs to “survive” is “people with big thinking, radical thinking,” Beck laid into the president for his “empty, symbolic budget cuts”:
Beck's point here is not totally off-base -- when the federal government is spending more than $3.5 trillion in a single year, a $100 million cut isn't going to mean a whole lot, even if you do it 100 times over. That's pretty much exactly what I was getting at regarding the Department of Education.
But mere moments later Beck went on to make a hypocritical and nonsensical ass of himself by proposing that we arbitrarily cut government salaries in order to bring the average government salary in line with that of the private sector. Beck was very excited over the billions of dollars (he says) cutting the pay of all the freeloading soldiers and FBI agents would save:
“Wow,” what savings! Right?
Well, no. $44.5 billion dollars amounts to about 1.3 percent of federal spending. $104.5 billion comes to around three percent. Combine that with Beck's scuttling of the Education Department, and you've cut a whopping five percent of spending (probably even less than that). And all you had to do to get there was drastically reduce the salaries of thousands of government workers and deny public schools the federal funding they desperately need.
So yes, by all means, let's stay away from “empty, symbolic budget cuts.”