Friday, February 18, 2011

Small Cuts

Utah’s Jason Chaffetz has gone on the record in the February 16 issue of The Wall Street Journal as favoring process over results.

Specifically, he argues that it is important to make small cuts, where possible, in the Federal budget.

He claims these add up. I would say they don’t add up to much, and that he is using the same political ruse that Obama is using: citing large numbers for the cuts without perspective. This just exploits the widespread innumeracy of the public.

N.B. Having said all that, he mentions a piece of trivia that I mentioned to Jeremiah when he first asked me about military spending and prosperity. The problem with subsidies, tax breaks, and so on, is that once created, they don’t get revisited and affirmed as still useful. Some of these are military in origin, and the dumbest one is the mohair subsidy. We devote a million dollars a year in subsidies to harvest mohair off the chin of goats for potential winter use, because it was used in World War II. Better synthetics have been around for decades. But the subsidy remains.

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