28 September 2008

- Earmarks -

I'm glad someone put the data into pie chart form. Cutting earmarks will get you roughly nowhere in terms of cutting the deficit. The basic problem is that we can't hope to cut substantively into the deficit from the spending side without cutting into what most consider core programs.

Maybe someday we can have a responsible debate about our priorities with respect to spending and taxes. But not yet.

And I don't blame the politicians on this. No I blame us, We the People, who for more than two decades have been convinced that we can get something for nothing. Yes, politicians have been telling us that we can get by simply through cutting "waste." But we are the ones who have believed them and voted for them. If we didn't vote for politicians who say such silly stuff, the politicians would quit saying. So, no, it's our fault: we've preferred make-believe to acting like responsible adults.

One of the disappointments of this campaign has been that neither McCain nor Obama believes that We, the People are responsible enough to weigh hard choices. That's why both of them were so painful in handling the economic portion of the debate on Friday. Neither wanted to say what both knew to be true—this bailout is going to limit radically what they can do as President and it's almost certainly going to mean a higher deficit, painful spending cuts and higher taxes. The trifecta. Woohoo.