Federal budget cuts arrive today. Although domestic agencies' budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama, the American public is being sold a scare story by the administration, because these agencies have to let go of one-third of that increase. Are they panicking? Sure. Are Americans? No.
Those who adore government, and bigger government, see the cuts as their worse nightmare come true: A stall in the expansion. Why does that bother them? If government does not expand, people might think it does not need to. If, heaven forbid, the government actually became smaller and citizens could live with it, then what? Yes, that is the end of an entire political movement. Which one? The columnist George Will explained it best on this page yesterday: "The (cuts have) forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government's size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering."
What is the actual effect of the cuts? Well, the Obama administration is going to do everything in its power to make them as painful as possible for everyone. It is going to find the most important and most visible government programs and attach the cuts to them. That's called politics. Citizens should not fall for it, and demand that obvious waste be targeted first.
On the local level, we're hearing some grumblings about the cuts, but their actual effect seems negligible. The local school superintendent, for example, says the school could lose 8 percent of the 4 percent it gets in federal funds. Other local agencies are not certain what they face, because they are not getting the proper and needed warnings from federal officials. That, of course, stinks.