Monday, April 11, 2011

Carolyn Hax on Our Budget Problems

Carolyn Hax is the Post's advice columnist. Today's column starts with a query from a two-career, two child family, where the wife is feeling a bit overwhelmed. Her advice is appropriate, not only for the question, but also for the US Congress and political system in dealing with our budget problems:
". It’s so easy to focus on the individual items that make up your life: We need to do X for the kids, we need Y amount of money, Z is necessary for my job and I need this salary, etc. That’s because they’re small, incremental decisions, often conveniently black-and-white, so making them brings a sense of progress — all while leaving the bigger, scarier, grayer issues entirely unaddressed.
 Since semi-conservative columnist Robert Samuelson is also in the paper bemoaning ":
government has promised more than it can realistically deliver and, as a result, repeatedly disappoints by providing less than people expect or jeopardizing what they already have. But government can’t easily correct its excesses, because Americans depend on it for so much that any effort to change the status arouses a firestorm of opposition that virtually ensures defeat.

[I was astonished to have Samuelson say that Rep. Ryan would "gut defense"; my impression which may be wrong is that he didn't touch defense beyond Sec. Gates' proposals.  But anyway, when we look at the big picture, as Ms Hax exhorts us to, through Ezra Klein's eyes, we find the current law will end the deficit.  (What he doesn't say is government spending increases as a percent of GDP--the point is that tax provisions on the books would raise enough, assuming the PPACA provisions are implemented.)

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