QotD: Early Edition Edition

Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? From Sheldon Richman’s article at Reason today:

President Obama and other so-called progressives insist that the American people are not overly dependent on government. They also predict dire consequences if the automatic budget “cuts” known as sequestration take place March 1.

Both claims cannot be true.

But the GOP gets its share of blame as well. Read the whole thing.

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Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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One Response to QotD: Early Edition Edition

  1. mike shupp says:

    I read the whole thing. I’m not impressed.

    (A) It takes special skills to describe the US budget situation without mentioning that we’ve been through the worst economic crisis in our history since the Great Depression aand the recovery is proceeding very slowly.

    (B) Let’s consider this paragraph: “The sequester consists of $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts in non-entitlement spending growth over ten years. To put that in perspective, Reason editor Nick Gillespie writes, “Remember that we’re talking about $1.2 trillion dollars taken out of a projected $44 trillion or so in spending. What kind of budget discipline is that?””

    To REALLY put this in perspective, consider that 60% of the federal budget is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The sequester basically cuts 10% out of the rest — about $700 billion in military spending and $500 billion that covers everything else, from NASA to the Post Office to agricultural subsidies to interest payments to Congressmen’s salaries. $1.2 trillion dollars taken from $12 trillion looks a bit more discipline, doesn’t it — especially when one of the two major political parties screams and shouts at the thought of eliminating 5% of military spending and would prefer to take all of the savings out of that $500 billion per year figure.

    (C) To be sure, Richman faces that issue boldly: “Of course, much could and should be cut from the military by ending the U.S. government’s imperial foreign policy—which makes enemies for the American people—and moving to a policy of strict noninterventionism. This would not only save money; it would be the right thing to do. The U.S. government should not be policing the world.”

    Now I sort of agree with that. Sort of. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I tend to think we can cut 200 billion bucks a year from DoD (or 275 billion if we eliminate most of TSA). without repercussion. The other days of the week I reflect that the world is in need of some policing by somebody, and maybe maybe maybe it’s a good thing that the US sometimes tries to do this. Your Mileage May Vary. However, that’s a large-scale policy issue and perhaps an ethical issue. It’s not clear to me that budget problems should be “solved” by imposing new policy a/o ethical judgements. (or vice versa. If my point isn’t clear, consider this proposition: “We should permit and even encourage abortion among unmarried women, because it is certain to save the taxpayers’ money.”)

    So on balance, Richman’s reasoning leaves me unconvinced. If I were a college teacher and he were my pupil, I’d not give him a passing grade. I’d not take my medical problems to him if he were a doctor. I’d not invest money on his recommendation if he were a stockbroker. I wouldn’t use him as a lawyer if I had to go to court. I wouldn’t trust his books to survive an audit if he were an accountant. I’d go to Wikipedia to double check his dates if he wrote a work of history. I’d avoid flying on an airplane which he might have helped design as an engineer. I wouldn’t consider him for marraige counseling, and I wouldn’t let him date any of my hypothetical children without a chaperone. Is some portion of my sentiment getting through to you?

    ———————————–
    Look. I’m not especially liberal. I was raised Republican, I cast my first Presidential ballot for Richard Nixon in 1968, I’ve always been registered as Republican. And I’ve read my Ayn Rand — just about all of her works, including The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged 3 times each. And I subscribed to National Review for almost 25 years. But I despise shoddy reasoning.

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