On Paul Ryan’s proposed plan to reduce the deficit, Megan writes:
The wildly disproportionate fury and outrage which greeted both Bowles-Simpson and the Ryan plan from the left indicate that progressives have so far failed to come to grips with the fact that they are going to have to compromise . . . . [T]hey're going to have to ultimately accede to some spending cuts, because this is one policy area where doing nothing is literally not an option.
Well, the left has to compromise to save the country. But they don’t have to compromise in an absolute sense, any more than Thelma & Louise have to stop their car at the edge of the cliff. Bankruptcy and suicide is always an option. Just ask the Greeks.
[W]hile some of the gap is going to be closed by tax increases, some of it is going to be closed by spending cuts. And not just defense cuts, or seemingly trivial changes to physician reimbursement rates that we hope will snowball over time, but actual cuts in services that people currently want and expect to get from government--but do not want or expect to pay for.
I fear Megan understates the problem. My own assessment is that these very people – the ones who want government services without government revenue – presently hold the balance of power in our country. In theory, the left and right could reach a compromise on taxes and spending (although even here I may be assuming too much). In practice, however, the center is determined to prevent exactly that compromise.