Thursday, February 17, 2011

No Guts!

Everybody’s favorite topic these days is the deficit.

Our economy’s out of whack

We’re spending too much

We’re spending on the wrong things

We’ve got to cut back

If we don’t do something now it will be too late

Everybody’s talking and nobody’s doing. This is not rocket science – it’s not even economic science. What is needed is less spending and more revenue.

But the gutless wonders of all political persuasions who run our government can’t bring themselves to deal with the problem. Republicans want to cut but not tax. Democrats also want to cut (but not the same things) and are willing to tax rich people. The Tea Party crazies want to cut, cut, cut.

The Simpson-Bowles commission came closest to getting it right. Unpleasant steps must be taken, they said, and Obama said he would back them. So they made unpleasant recommendations, but Obama hasn’t backed them.

Specifically, the gutless ones have been unwilling to reduce the parts of the budget where most of the money is spent – entitlements – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – and defense spending. Obama and his people are nibbling around the edges, congratulating themselves because they’re willing to cut programs that they like, and arguing for taking time to get it right. That’s bullshit. There will never be a right time to get it right. It’ll always be politically distasteful to reduce benefits for old people and workers.

Republicans are also eager to nibble around the edges, for sure taking bigger bites out of small programs than are the Democrats, but again, not having the guts to take on the big issues.

I hear there is a movement among Republicans to take on entitlements. That would be good news. And if the Democrats are laying a trap, hoping the Republicans will step forward to be the bad guys, shame on the Dems. I also hear there is a bi-partisan group working to move ahead with the Simpson-Bowles proposals. That too would be good news.

I haven’t heard that anyone except the Secretary of Defense is willing to seriously reduce the defense budget. We only spend ten times more on defense than any other country on the planet. What for? There’s no good answer. Just a knee jerk reaction that we Americans are an endangered species and must protect ourselves. Again – bullshit.

And so endeth today’s rant. Have a nice day.


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