The austerity plan
I’ve been rolling this one in my head for a couple days, and I’ve become convinced of something. Austerity is a dirty word in this country.
This is America, for gosh sakes, and we are entitled to the best of everything, aren’t we? What is this stuff about doing without? That seems to be the response on the lips of millions of Americans, with perhaps the better way of putting it being that we should cut the fat out of government – of course, anything benefiting these Americans isn’t considered fat.
So into the middle of this attitude the local Libertarian Congressional candidate drops a big, fat helping of talk about cutting back. Perhaps the money paragraph in his treatise is this one:
The culture of dependency has nearly destroyed the soul of our country. The welfare state is wrought with fraud and failure. It has deprived generations of their dignity and few ever break out of the cycle. They have become enslaved by dependency and are trapped under the giant footprint of government.
Of course you know Muir Boda is right, but you also know his hopes of being elected on a Libertarian ticket lie someplace between those of being struck by lightning and winning the Powerball lottery. So the idea for Libertarians isn’t necessarily winning elections, but rather to pull the political center in their direction. In that respect they’re acting like the TEA Party to the Republicans and the Occupy movement to the Democrats, borrowing something from both.
And this message is actually at home in the Republican Party; unfortunately too many GOP members of Congress have the same attitude I expressed above. (The incumbent Boda is running against is better than most at resisting this.) They talk in platitudes about reducing government but when it comes to some favored constituency that buck just keeps right on going. One case in point: the farm bill under consideration, which instills yet another program to privatize profits and socialize losses through the “shallow loss” portion of the bill which provides a guaranteed income floor to qualifying farmers. Simply put, it’s not the government’s job to do this and I defy anyone to tell me where this is authorized under the Constitution. It sounds more like something President Obama would write up in an Executive Order.
Boda also points out that there are successful examples of governments which tightened their belts, citing the former Soviet states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia as nations which slashed their spending. Would it hurt America to do the same? The Presidential candidate representing Muir’s party (Gary Johnson, a former governor and originally a 2012 Republican hopeful) is on record that we should immediately cut spending to match revenue. There’s no question that approach is some strong medicine, and across-the-board cuts aren’t always the most prudent.
But Johnson is approaching the situation in the same manner that many Democrats do – demand something extremely off the wall, knowing that a compromise still moves the ball in the right direction. Unfortunately, too many Republicans have mastered the art of ceding valuable ground because they believe that it’s what the public wants; a belief reinforced by Democratic talking points parroted by the mainstream media.
As I’ve said on occasion, why not try something different? We’ve done it the big government way for eighty years and the results seem to be dependence and, over the last four years, a moribund and recessionary economy. I prefer America getting back to its former glory days of kicking ass and taking names – not necessarily on a military basis, but in leading the industrialized world in economic innovation and creating a lifestyle the world hadn’t before seen. Getting government out of the way would help in that respect, and spending less gets government out of the way.