Deficit Schmeficit

By Bill Maher

Over the past four years, the deficit has been cut in half. In 2009, it was over 10% of GDP; today, it's about 4.5%. This is according to a recent assessment by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius, who wrote, "The federal budget deficit is shrinking rapidly" -- even faster than their economic team thought earlier this year, when they predicted it would be $900 billion, which they then revised to $850 billion, which they’ve now dropped again to $775 billion. And it could be lowered even more, because it was already shrinking before sequestration kicked in.

Our economy and tax revenues are growing, and the size of government is shrinking -- exactly where we want to be. How? We cut spending and raised taxes -- amazing how that works! First, there were the sizable cuts that were part of the debt ceiling deal, and then the tax increases at the beginning of this year when we faced "the fiscal cliff." The Goldman economists say, "Spending in the fiscal year to date is lower than a year ago and the nominal growth rate is lower than it has been in decades." Conservatives say Obama's got a spending problem. He does. He's a miser.

It's not just Goldman. John Makin, a resident scholar at the very, very conservative American Enterprise Institute, writes, "American fiscal austerity has been moderate and probably... has proceeded far enough for now." In other words, "Cool it with that hatchet." This is what conservatives are saying.

The Goldman report also says that tax revenues are up 12% since we eliminated the Bush tax cuts on the top 2% -- more than expected. This once again debunks the theory that the government magically takes in more money whenever taxpayers send in less money.

We still have to slow the growth in health care spending in the long-term, but we don't really know by how much, because we need to see how much Obamacare and new technology help. But for now, can we just stop it with all the doomsdaying over our deficit "crisis?" Most of it is just calculated exaggeration so we can starve a beast that's already starving.