Tad DeHaven
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Most people would say that voting for Congress is important, so why don’t they spend time doing this necessary research? Because they know that the effort would have no real payoff. Time is scarce, and there are always other uses of one’s time that really will make a difference. The average congressional district has 600,000 residents, three-quarters of whom are of voting age. No single vote will determine who gets elected or what policies are enacted — that is, no matter what you do, the outcome will be the same. And should your favorite candidate win and enact his program, you would pay only a tiny fraction of the total cost of that candidate’s policies; most of the cost would fall on others. So why exert much effort?

And that’s why Democrats (and Republicans devoted to the U.S. military empire) have spent the past few weeks trying to scare the pants off of voters. It remains to be seen if their efforts will pay political dividends. Saturday Night Live’s mocking of the administration’s sky-is-falling posture is a hopeful indication that the anti-spending cuts politicians might have overplayed their hand. Keep in mind, however, that we’re only talking about $44 billion in spending cuts versus $3.5 trillion in total spending this year. The cuts would have to be multiplied by a factor of almost twenty just to balance the budget. 

Imagine the hysteria if that were on the table. 

Those of us who would prefer to live under a vastly more limited federal government have our work cut out for us in convincing the average American that bigger isn’t always better.

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Tad DeHaven

Tad DeHaven is a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Previously he was a deputy director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget. DeHaven also worked as a budget policy advisor to Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK).