Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Democrat Budgeting: The Thelma & Louise Plan

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.

Megan continues:

[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.

4 comments:

Professor Hale said...

Both the left and right extremes are arguing over which decimal place to round off at. They are arguing over pocket change while ignoring the bulk of the spending plan (can't even call it a budget).

Even if the Republicans get everything they want, it won't be enough since it isn't even close.

100 billion per year is still a trillion deficit every year. We need a trillion is cuts this year. and no tax increases. It can't be that hard, we were doing it just 2 years ago.

Φ said...

Well said. It's discouraging that for all the sound and fury over a shutdown, the parties are arguing over little more than a rounding error on next year's deficit.

trumwill said...

As I've said elsewhere, as long as both parties think that this situation can be solved with only The Bad Guys really taking it in the chin, we're stuck.

Φ said...

Trumwill: I agree, and we may have a situation that looks like, I dunno, Flanders 1916, where the parties have talked their constituencies into a position where compromise is impossible without a crisis on the order of Greece or Argentina. But it's not just the parties. I'm convinced that a significant segment of the population is honestly prepared to run the country into the toilet so long as the bennies keep coming while they're still alive.