Thursday, November 3, 2011

Americans Prefer Rhetorical Fairy Tales to Unpleasant Realities

UPDATE: A cartoon recommended by Tammy:

Regarding federal budget deficits and debt, "[t]here’s no culture of moral accountability. There’s no sense that political leaders, retired from office seeking, should come clean with the public. The essential nature of the country’s budget problem — the dominance of spending on retirement benefits and uncontrolled health costs — was no secret to either Clinton or Bush. It would be healthy for the country if they confessed that their dodging of unpopular choices helped create today’s mess.

Their silence contributes to continued public confusion and political stalemate. Polls consistently show that Americans want budget deficits closed but dislike the policies that would close them: higher taxes on much of the public; cuts in retirement benefits; reductions in other government programs. On both left and right, myths persist of painless solutions: “eliminating waste” or 'taxing millionaires.'

It’s true, as Democrats charge, that Republican rigidity on taxes obstructs agreement. But that’s not the only obstacle. Democrats’ intransigent defense of Social Security and Medicare reflects the programs’ utility as a partisan vote-getter. Republicans 'have launched an all-out war on Medicare and Social Security' says a new fundraising mailer from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Why sacrifice this pitch even if it’s untrue?

Congress’s 'supercommittee' — charged with reducing budget deficits — is reportedly floundering. Small wonder. Our political system prefers rhetorical fairy tales to unpleasant budget realities."

Read the Washington Post, Where are the Clinton and Bush apologies for our budget crisis?

That last sentence is worth repeating: Our political system prefers rhetorical fairy tales to unpleasant budget realities.

No comments: