We Are All Spending Hypocrites

Bruce Bartlett calls out the neocons for being hypocrites on spending:

Establishment conservatives love to talk about the need to cut government spending, but they always seem to find an excuse whenever there is a serious effort to actually do it. Last year, for example, they opposed cutting Medicare as part of health care reform. Now they are banding together to stop cuts in defense spending, which is a fifth of the federal budget, even as they also insist that the deficit is our most critical problem.

This hypocrisy was on full display on Oct. 4, as American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol penned a joint op-ed for the right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page on why the defense budget should be totally off limits to budget cutters.

Sure they’re hypocrites. But so is everyone else. All of us want to cut spending, after all — except for the stuff we care about. That always needs to be off limits. The 65+ crowd in the tea parties wants to cut spending. Except for Social Security and Medicare. Heartland farmers want to cut spending. Except on agricultural subsidies and ethanol allowances. Rock-ribbed businessmen want to cut spending. Except for all the tax expenditures that virtually every sector enjoys. Doctors and nurses want to cut spending. Except on healthcare. Teachers want to cut spending. Except on schools.

Look. The truth is that no one wants to cut spending. What we all want to do is cut spending on stuff we don’t happen to care about. Kristol & Co. are a little more barefaced about it than most, but otherwise they’re just part of a great American tradition.