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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Quote of the Day - Progressives in Dreamland edition

Arnold Kling brings two.  First this, on the budget conceit of the left:
I know that the conventional wisdom is that Republicans and conservatives are hopelessly irrational and self-contradictory on fiscal policy. Let us stipulate that such is the case. That does not mean that the Democrats and progressives are rational and coherent. If someone on the left can point me to a budget that does what you want, does not lead to explosive deficits, and does not depend on spending an imaginary dividend of “lower health care costs, through magic,” I would like to see it.

To put it this another way, I think that even if the entire conservative side of the political spectrum were to collapse tommorrow, the left still could not govern.
That barely loses out to this one:
What if pay for all government workers–federal, state and local–had been reduced by 5 percent at the start of the recession? How many jobs would have been saved?


In general, I think that we mis-frame the government budget issue when we talk about taxes vs. program cuts. Instead, we should be talking about taxes vs. reductions in compensation for government workers. It is not at all clear to me that we need to reduce incomes in the private sector in order to maintain incomes in the public sector.
Yup.

6 comments:

Alan said...

Obviously, you're not a socialist.

Borepatch said...

Proudly so, Alan.

Jester said...

Well I will offer this as one of those much hated public workers. Working with my fellow Veterans at the VA hospital has been quite the experience for accountability in job performances. You could even get away with not reducing the pay of anyone if you could actually fire someone for a change. If job accountability was held to the standards the private sector was the efficiency would skyrocket and the tax paying public would get more bang for their tax dollars instead of dealing with people who are only retained because it is cheaper than going though the termination process, or of the right minority group.

Divemedic said...

I don't think that government employees are the problem, even though they are the frequent scapegoat.
When you look at the budget, see that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the interest on the debt account for every dime the Federal government collects in taxes, plus another $200 billion.
The fiscal shipwreck that is the United States is sinking- like the Titanic, it is a mathematical certainty. Talk of cutting this or that is merely arranging the deck chairs so as to have the best view of the coming collapse.

lelnet said...

I'm surprised at you. The first one makes sense. The second, though, entirely misunderstands the point.

Those jobs need cutting. Not a 5% cut in salary, or a 10% cut in salary, or even a 100% cut in salary but we let the ones who feel like volunteering come in and do their old jobs for free. They must be GONE. Lock the buildings, station guards outside to keep the old bureaucrats from breaking in, and then Thermite the servers so they can't work by telecommuting either.

Federal employment would need massive job cuts even if the budget were in persistent surplus, because most of those jobs exist to perform functions which are not authorized by the Constitution, and are principally focused on making America worse.

"There's no money" isn't the reason we want cuts. It's the wedge, to force the issue open.

Jester said...

There is nothing wrong with cutting large swaths of the .gov. I am all for it. The problem is as we currently see instead of cutting the growth rate (And not a real cut in current spending) gearing to as Obummer himself even stated "about cutting programs that do not work" or are even redundant they are geared to make it as painful as possible by cutting the highly seen areas. I am in complete agreement that there needs to be a heavy reduction in the good old .gov to what it should do. Take care of its promised obligations that make the country run. But that will not be happening when you can not even reform any of the vital services let alone the non vital ones.