How to Reduce the Budget

Says Mr. President:

Tomorrow, I’m pleased to announce, that the Washington Monument as well as the entire federal government will be open for business.

Whew! What a relief. And the best part is that we get to operate under a whopping 1% spending cut. 1 percent! Thats like, I’m spending $100 every day, I’ll cut my spending significantly. From now on, I’ll spend only $99 every day. I’m charging it on the credit card, but let’s not split hairs here. What a circus.

What is mainly wrong with the rhetorical “Where would you cut?” is its implicit assumption that the burden of proof is is on those who wish to cut. The burden of proof, on the contrary, must be on those who wish to make the expenditures. Any dollar of expenditure that they cannot affirmatively justify ought not to be made.

Henry Hazzlitt, “How to Reduce the Budget,” Newsweek, January 20, 1947.

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