Trillion is the new Billion

I ♥ Mark Steyn:

$438 billion was the record-breaking federal deficit in 2008. That’s all of three years ago. In 2011, it’s getting on for four times as big. What’s that got to do with anything happening in 2023?

Obama did that. The Democrats did that. “Trillion” is their word. They mainstreamed it, and very effectively, in nothing flat. But it’s not a fact of life. It’s a fact of their life, and they should be on the defensive about it. What do we have to show for the trillionization of government? The dead-parrot economy, the underwater property market, the flatline jobs market. But lots more bureaucracy and regulation.

Obama made “Trillion” a household word.

But, of course, the Republicans are fools (who will be voted out of office) for toying with the idea of going along with the Gang of Six plan.

In return for 6% cut in marginal income-tax rate, they are willing to acquiece on everything. For nothing. Plus defense cuts!

Republicans led by naïve supply-siders are preparing, for the third time in my life, to sell their souls on spending cuts in exchange for tax-rate reductions that are small, ineffective, and sure to be temporary.

The only solution is entitlement reform. Not vague talk of “efficiency in health-care spending.”

There is an alternative to actual spending reform. An 88% percent tax increase on EVERYONE. Who’s up for that?

This is amusing:

• The Gang of Six plan is strong with ideas, but somewhat light on details about how savings would be achieved. It says things like: Commerce would find $11 billion in savings. Energy would find $6 billion. Even an agreement would not make such general mandates into reality; that will require leadership over an extended period of time to be sure that the spending cuts take.

That’s ’cause they’re IDEA MEN, Stephen. Details are for the little people to work out. Worker bees.

The plan does better on Social Security and Medicare fixes, outlining the parameters for change (a Social Security fix must assure solvency for 75 years) and process (the whole deficit reduction plan would be voided if the Social Security solution does not get 60 votes). But it still leaves much of the specific work (how to hold entitlement growth to GDP growth, essentially) to legislative committees that will have to be focused to deliver real solutions.

Well, entitlement problem SOLVED. They’re going to focus on “real solutions.” I wonder why no one ever thought of this before?

• It’s significant that the Gang of Six plan resists the kinds of Social Security and Medicare changes that would deeply impact recipients. These programs are worth saving and paying for. Their social benefits far outweigh their economic costs (at least when they’re funded properly), and it ought to be unthinkable for anyone to imagine going back to an America without them.

Why are they worth saving? I’d like to think about going back to an America without them, since they are bankrupting our country and are untouchable. Even here he’s congratulating the Gang of Six for not changing the program. We’re doomed.

It has become far too fashionable simply to blame budget problems on the existence of various “entitlements.” But they are actually crowning achievements in our quest to be a more humane, more just society. They are troubled, indeed, and Washington must find ways to manage their costs and balance their finances if they are to be sustained over the long term.

A ponzi scheme makes us more just? Tell that to Bernie Madoff. It’s not working out so hot for him.

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2 Comments on “Trillion is the new Billion”

  1. Jay in Ames Says:

    I’m no Ron Paul fan, but his newest Iowa campaign ad hits on this exactly right. Shows pics of Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2, and describes in the voiceover how everyone got hoodwinked by dem spending programs.

    It’s quite a good ad.


  2. But they are actually crowning achievements in our quest to be a more humane, more just society.

    Now, they are crowning achievements in the usurpation of power not granted to the federal government, and the ability of Dem legislators to skirt the Constitution while buying generations of votes for their power base.


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