1. Generational Kick-the-Can

    JLP at All Financial Matters put out a few thoughts yesterday regarding the Fiscal Commission’s proposals for reducing the country’s deficit and debt, regaining a sound financial footing, eliminating the road-tar-like aftertaste of Diet Dr. Pepper, ensuring that Bolivian forest fairies are allowed to vote on Dancing With the Stars, and … yeah. Whatever.

    My opinion? I’ll believe spending cuts — and I’m talking meaningful cuts — when I see them.

    Regarding the proposal, JLP pointed out a snippet from its introduction which I too would like to comment on:

    Throughout our history, Americans have always been willing to sacrifice to make our nation stronger over the long haul. That’s the promise of America: to give our children and grandchildren a better life.

    It’s pathetic that a mere three paragraphs in, I’m forced to stop reading and call the proposal’s authors what they are, which is bald-faced liars. Americans as a whole haven’t been about “sacrificing for the future” since movies were still being made in black and white. Certainly there’s been no “sacrificing for the future” in my lifetime.

    No, all we do is play generational kick-the-can. We in the U.S. use our “full faith and credit,” coupled with our dollar’s advantage of being the world’s reserve currency, and we leverage these puppies to the max at every opportunity. Rare has been the expenditure deemed truly out-of-bounds by our elected officials. I contend that most of us below the age of, say, seventy, wouldn’t know true sacrifice if someone poured it in our Cocoa Puffs.

    Are these guys serious? “Sacrifice to give our children and grandchildren a better life?”

    Bullshit. I can pretty much blow off the rest of that 50-page proposal right there.

    If I Were Supreme Dictator For Life…

    Just off the top of my head, here are a folder-full of changes I’d love to see Washington undertake. Which, of course, they won’t. But it’s fun to think of the chaos that’d ensue.

    • Eliminate the mortgage-interest tax deduction. That’s right; I said it. And yes, I’m a homeowner. Doesn’t matter — I want this stupid incentive gone.
    • Eliminate the child tax credit. Yep, I said that, too. When you’re trillions in debt, just putting the shovel down ain’t enough.
    • Social Security / Medicare / Medicaid / Welfare? Start Cutting. All of Them. Blasphemy, I know. Reread what I said about the shovel. Pay now, or pay later.
    • Education / Military? Start Cutting. And Big. You see where I’m going with this, right? You don’t even want to know what I’d do with the Department of Education.
    • Financial Reform. Run a Wall Street firm or TBTF bank that falls on hard times? Damn the bad luck. The concept of “privatize the profits; socialize the losses” just went bye-bye. And I hope you have a good lawyer, because…
    • Corporate Welfare & Bailouts? HA! How ‘Bout Jail Time? This one ought to be fun: I want to see bankers, regulators, and anyone else knowingly party to financial fraud on a sizeable scale doing the Perp Walk. Get a few hundred of these on the nightly news, and I bet the “profit is all that matters” attitudes change pretty quickly.
    • Create Decent Tax Incentives for Non-Retirement, Non-College Saving. Talk about a pipe dream. Encouraging people to save would crash the economy, don’t you know. One positive side effect: “Helicopter” Ben Bernanke’s head might just explode.
    • Federally-Backed Student Loans? Severely Limited, If Not Gone. Guess what happens to college tuition when Uncle Sam’s unlimited pocketbook snaps closed? Hint: It won’t keep rising like clockwork. Another positive side effect: A lot of mediocre professors and administrators will be forced to visit the Real World for more than an hour or two per day.
    • Sam’s Club Will Be Required to Carry Tiramisu Year-Round. Okay, fine. I’d settle for just this one.

    There you go. I figure signing off on those items would pretty well fill up the first two hours of my Supreme Dictator office-ship. Yes, I might bring the economy to a screeching halt before any of us have had our morning coffee. Yes, I would find myself in the crosshairs of a great many lobbying groups and monied interests. And yes, I would almost certainly have people brandishing rusty farm implements in the streets.

    But hey — at least when I talked about “sacrifice,” I wasn’t blowing smoke up your patootie.

    That is all.

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  2. 2 Responses to "Generational Kick-the-Can" ...

    1. On November 22, 2010 @ 6:04 pm,
      Kim Hunter wrote:

      well, i’m canadian, so if you ever do become dictator for life i’m not sure if your policies and laws will effect me. still i have to ask, under your rule, after you’ve made your cuts to the dept of education, would the teachers be better teachers? would science teachers actually understand science, and math teachers understand math well enough to make their classes fun and interesting? oh and i totally support your scrapping federally backed student loans. it had never occured to me that they might actually be the reason for rising tuition, thus making it much more difficult for those who do actually want to work their way through school.



    2. On November 22, 2010 @ 7:21 pm,
      Michael wrote:

      … after you’ve made your cuts to the dept of education, would the teachers be better teachers? would science teachers actually understand science, and math teachers understand math well enough to make their classes fun and interesting?

      Nope. But we’d shed needless (and detrimental) bureaucracy and expense, and allow education to be directed by states, cities, and localities, rather than the faceless / nameless / accountability-less FedGov.

      And we’ll see what teachers can accomplish from THAT point.



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