Cut and Grow? How So?

By Richard Thayer

While growing up on a farm in northern Virginia many moons ago, if my daddy had told me, “Son, I’ve got a plan to increase our crop yield this year: we’re going to sow less seed.” Or, if he’d said, “I’ve come up with an idea on how to grow fatter cattle: we’re going to feed them less.” I would have thought he was a loon.

Of course I wouldn’t have told him that to his face. But I would have thought it.

How in the world can you grow more by sowing less or grow fatter by feeding less?

Right now in Congress there is a big push by the Republican-controlled House to “Cut and Grow.” The idea is this: by cutting spending and government regulation, the economy will be allowed to grow and create jobs.

It’s an interesting theory and I’m curious to see how this works when applied to the real world. How do you freeze federal workers’ salaries for at least five years, lay people off, and in so doing stimulate the economy and create jobs?

According to one Republican spokesperson, slashing domestic programs will “restore restraints to the broken budget process and help promote better economic conditions for sustained job creation.”

I’m waiting anxiously for the specifics to be unveiled in the days ahead. Do they have David Copperfield waiting in the wings?

Rebecca Theiss is a policy analyst with the Economic Policy Institute and she begs to differ with the “slash and burn” folks on Capitol Hill. Theiss says the opposite. She says that in order for the economy to grow and in order to create more jobs, the government has to spend money.

An interesting side note. A recent report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that the decline of the middle class over the past 40 years is linked to union membership. As unions have shrunk in this country, so has the middle class. It’s not a coincidence.

I mention this because many of the cuts proposed by the Republican Party will have an adverse impact on unions and their membership, and this in turn will shrink the middle class even further in the years to come.

Cut and grow? I think I know what they’re talking about.

By cutting the middle class they will be able to grow even more profitable big businesses (which, by the way, have managed to squirrel-away two trillion dollars in our nation’s banks). That’s what is meant by “cut and grow.” Now you know.


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