Mark Steyn said this week,
…the world is looking for about $4 trillion dollars of real cuts. And what we’re being offered, depending on how you score it, is about $7 billion dollars of cuts from fiscal year 2012. That’s, what, about the United States government borrows every thirty hours. So in other words, we have spent a month negotiating, in real terms, a cut that represents what the United States government borrows every 30 hours.
Democrats and Republicans are like two doctors arguing about how to put a bandaid on the cut of man who has cancer. They’re focused on a trivial issue and evading the real problem. The status of America’s credit rating will not mean much if we don’t solve the spending and borrowing problem.
As Yaron Brook explains, if we don’t do something now, by 2025 entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare will be spending every penny of revenue. Our politicians refuse to face reality.
Change is hard. For generations politicians have found a pragmatic solution that works well — for politicians: expand the welfare state, borrow and tax, and put off the long-term problems for the next guy to deal with. It’s worked for a long time, and today’s politicians desperately want this formula to continue.
There is only one problem the pragmatists don’t see and can’t understand: reality. Putting off the problem of deficit spending and expanding government obligations cannot go on forever. The problems can no longer be passed to the next guy. The people in power now need to confront government spending.
And they can’t do it. They are terrified that if they try to make substantial cuts they will lose the next election. The Democrat plan seems to be to demagogue any cuts for political advantage. From Mark Steyn again:
That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the “debt ceiling” negotiations the other day: “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”
This is the kind of ludicrous politicizing of the problem you get from the left. The Republicans might be a little better — they’re not politicizing the bandaid — but they too evade the cancer. Even Paul Ryan’s budget, which the left portrayed as pushing grandma in a wheel chair off a cliff, only reduces the amount of spending increase, but does not reduce spending.
I think what we are seeing, in both America and Europe, is the death of the welfare state. It has only been around since the 1880’s in Bismark’s Germany. In the 1930’s FDR brought it to America. It might have collapsed sooner in Europe had not America subsidized their defense since WWII. It might have collapsed sooner in America had not the computer made every aspect of the economy more efficient.
Now we are at the point that hard decisions must be made. We need leaders, but today’s politicians have not shown themselves to be up to the task. Amid the coming crises and economic pain, it will be fun to watch reality slap our current politicians in the face. There will be some justice in that, for what it’s worth.