Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This is too easy

From Finem Respice, comes these observations [occasional profanity at link]:
... What faces the Legislature, the Executive (and perhaps even the Judiciary) in the months and years to come is going to be anything but easy. The days of pouring deficit spending into housing, public employees, defined benefit plans, state subsidies and any other problem that manages to show its head above water for a sufficient interval are numbered. Someone is going to have to face the sorry task of explaining to the American people that, when you actually add it all up, the debt comes to almost $550,000 for each and every household in the United States, and that successive Comptroller Generals of the United States have been trying to get people to pay attention for five or ten years.

In an environment where even discussing shifting social security age eligibility by a few months can bring down the angry fist of voter wrath with such violence that even the CBO looks for cover, how are leaders today going to break the news that there is simply no water-boarding procedure severe enough to torture Social Security math past the point where it gives up enough money to pay for even a substantial fraction baby boomers? When something as trivial as a $1 trillion dollar health plan results in the forfeiture of god-given progressive birthrights like "The Kennedy Seat," what sort of effect might $30+ trillion in unfunded Medicare have when the bill comes due and remains unpaid?

Sure, it is nice to fantasize that the latest "republican revolution" means something in the grand scheme of things, but if American politics are "played inside of the 40 yard lines," then neither party is anywhere close to possessing the testicular fortitude to handle real fiscal reform. Balancing the budget today (which does nothing except stop the hemorrhaging for a while) would require no less than 35% across-the-board cuts in government spending- and this totally ignores the massive off-budget items that have become so fashionable to spin off. To say that Obama, who despite his Chicago machine pedigree couldn't seem to fix the Olympics RFP even with Oprah batting clean-up, isn't up to the task is stating the matter mildly. ...

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