PUNTING THE TOUGH STUFF

Cynics say the government doesn’t do anything well, but they fail to give credit where credit is due: No one kicks the can down the road better than our ruling class. If we weren’t running out of road, they’d still be doing it. Lord knows,  at least half of them are still trying.

When it comes to cutting spending they’ve squirmed, squealed and squabbled. When they realized it was only a matter of time before the printing presses would run out of green ink, Congress abdicated its responsibility to a small committee of people that can fight in closer quarters. In fairness, we’ve enabled them; doing what they should do mandates major give-backs by us, things we’ve been granted in return for our sweet votes. Freebies our elected benefactors didn’t have the assets to offer in the first place. But the shiny printing presses were just too inviting. As I’ve said in prior rants, the government is addicted to spending.

The answer is simple, the consequences hard. Instead of endless, fruitless negotiations, we need to cut spending to 2008 levels. 2005 might even be better. There is a glimmer of hope that something dramatic may occur—people in  the electorate and in government are actually talking about the sacred cows, Social Security and Medicare, something that has been termed for decades the “third rail” of politics. Although they still gasp in horror when a presidential candidate refers to Social Security, a program that uses the money of relatively small numbers of players to pay for the burgeoning numbers of older participants, without putting aside a dime, as a “Ponzi scheme.” Oh, well, change comes slowly.

Cutting spending across the board doesn’t mean every governmental institution needs to remain sacrosanct. As crucial to our well-being as each and every agency may seem to the bureaucrats that nurture them, perhaps we can find a few modifications we can live with.

Next: Cutting the fat

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