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February 19, 2007

Treating the spending tumor

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

We want to make this clear — passage of the Downsize DC Agenda, including the “Read the Bills Act,” the “Write the Laws Act,” and the coming “One Subject at a Time Act,” will set the stage for Downsizing Big Government. But, and this is a BIG BUT . . .

Once the stage has been set, radical surgery will be required to actually remove the malignant tumor that Cancerous Government has become. Below, we will show just how malignant this tumor really is.

The surgery we must perform will require action on the truly cancerous portions of the federal budget. In this regard, all the fuss about earmarks amounts to whistling past the graveyard. Earmarks represent just a few tiny cells in a tumor containing many trillions of killers.

We could eliminate earmarks entirely, and the rest of the spending tumor would still be deadly.

Success will be more likely if we can begin to control the growth of this spending tumor now, rather than waiting to have all the surgical tools of our Downsize DC Agenda in place before we begin. This means . . .

We must seize opportunities to control cancerous government spending whenever we can.

For Downsize DC, this means using Trans-partisan issues to unite the Downsize DC Consensus — by which we mean all those liberals, conservatives, and libertarians who agree that the federal government is too big — behind concerted effort to control and then remove the tumor.

We have reached a Trans-partisan moment with regard to one cancerous portion of the federal budget — specifically, the occupation of Iraq, and more generally, our malignant foreign policy. That is why we have acted on this issue.

The true cost of the Iraq occupation is far more than what we have spent on it to date. It also includes future interest payments on money borrowed to fund the occupation, and health care costs for thousands of soldiers maimed in the line of duty.

One study, by Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz and budget expert Linda Bilmes, estimates that these liabilities may run as high as $2 trillion. That’s a lot of cancer cells, and this portion of the tumor is growing larger every day.

We have been at pains to show that there is no longer any benign aspect to the Iraq occupation. It, too, has become fully cancerous. We will make an effort to show in future messages how withdrawal could lead to a more benign outcome in the long term, if not in the short term. But for this message . . .

We want to focus on the Downsize DC aspect of this problem.

We cannot afford our current aggressive foreign policy. We must find a less costly path to national security and international stability. We believe there are many such paths available. But the bottom-line is this . . .

We cannot Downsize DC without changing our foreign policy. It is a major part of the tumor.

No other major federal spending program is currently in-play politically. Spending on Iraq is. We must take this opportunity to control the cancer by acting to remove the Iraqi portion of the tumor.

Below, you will find a long list of facts, compiled by the Republican Study Committee, but drawn from government reports, as well as studies by both liberal and conservative think tanks, that show just how cancerous Big Government has become. This litany of facts demonstrates how important it is to take action on cancerour government spending where-ever and whenever we can.

You can take action on the Iraq portion of the tumor right now by sending a message to Congress asking them to de-authorize the occupation.

The cancerous prognosis provided below also highlights the need for Downsize DC to grow larger, stronger, and more visible, sooner rather than later.

There are only 9 days left in February. We still need to raise $2,255 to meet our budget for February. We cannot do this without your help. Please make a contribution or start a monthly pledge here.

After every fact listed below, there will be two links. One to tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation, and one to contribute to the health and strength of Downsize DC. We hope you will do both.

Here are the facts . . .

* Total federal spending in FY07 is projected to be $2.77 trillion. This is the largest nominal amount ever spent in a fiscal year. Source: OMB Historical Tables
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* Since 2000, the amount the government spends annually per household rose from $19,016 to $21,878 in 2005 – an increase of 15.1%. This is the highest level of spending per household since WWII. Source: Heritage Foundation
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* In 2003, mandatory spending reached 10.9% of GDP for the first time ever and is projected to reach 11.2% in 2006. Source: CBO and OMB Historical Tables
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* Discretionary spending has reached 7.9% of GDP for the first time in over a decade. Source: CBO
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* The Treasury Department stated that FY05 ended with the federal government running a $318 billion deficit (or $494 billion if the Social Security surplus is not counted). This is the third largest nominal deficit in history and the 36th largest as a share of GDP.
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* Between 1996 and 2006, total federal spending increased 74.4%, for an average of 5.7% each year. From 1996 to 2005, the family budget increased at an average of 3.6% annually. Since 1996, inflation has averaged 2.4% per year. [Cancerous government is growing far faster than inflation, or the family budget.] Source: OMB Historical Tables, CBO, and U.S. Census Bureau
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* Mandatory spending (excluding interest) has increased 85%, for an average of 6.4% each year since 1996. Source: OMB Historical Tables and CBO
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* Discretionary spending grew 98%, and 7% on average, since 1996. Defense discretionary spending grew 111% overall, and 7.8% on average, but non-defense discretionary spending has grown 83% and 6.2% on average. Source: OMB Historical Tables
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* The 13 spending bills in FY05 contained 13,999 projects, up from 958 in FY96. The cost of these earmarks was $27.3 billion. Over a two-year period, the number of projects has increased by 50%. The cost of these earmarks has more than doubled from $12.5 billion in FY96 to over $27 billion in FY05. [Please notice how small spending on earmarks is compared to spending on Iraq] Source: Citizens Against Government Waste
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* According to a GAO study, before the prescription drug bill was enacted, in order to balance the federal budget in 2040, total federal spending would have to be cut in half or federal taxes doubled. Closing that long-term fiscal gap would require an annual economic growth in the double digits every year for the next 75 years. (During the 1990s, the economy grew at an average of 3.2% per year.)
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* According to the same study, if gross debt is added to the many other federal liabilities, the burden per person is well over $100,000—amounting to an unfunded burden of about $30 trillion.
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* In 2020, unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare will consume 36% of federal income tax revenue, provided that income tax revenues remain at their historical level of 10.89% of GDP. In 2040, these unfunded liabilities will consume 70%, and in 2060, 87%. Source: Heritage Foundation
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* “Expected growth in these programs [Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid], along with projected increases in interest on the debt and defense, will absorb all of the government’s currently projected revenue within eight years, leaving nothing for any other program.” Source: The Brookings Institution, Restoring Fiscal Sanity, January 2004
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
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* Government will grow from approximately 20% of GDP in 2003, to well over 40% of GDP in 2040. Source: General Accountability Office, June 2005 Testimony
Tell Congress to de-authorize the Iraq occupation
Contribute to the health and strength of Downsize DC

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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