Watching the news–and what passes for news–it’s hard not to wonder whether we’ve stumbled into an alternate university. The GOP is once again threatening to shut down the government, this time, apparently, over their insistence that funds spent for disaster relief be offset by other budget cuts. We still hear politicians insist that “austerity” will create jobs–despite a broad consensus among economists to the contrary, and despite the last jobs report which showed that private sector hiring gains were entirely offset by government layoffs.
You would think that the people who are trumpeting the need for cost reductions might be looking at long-standing boondoggles and expensive programs that are demonstrably failing to achieve their goals. I’ve written before about the monumentally expensive failure that is the drug war. Senator Lugar has long advocated cuts to agricultural subsidies (I’d start with the sugar subsidy that benefits a few well-connected producers while increasing costs to consumers)–there are plenty of places where we really could make significant cuts without damaging our already threadbare social safety net. (We might consider invading fewer countries…)
And I won’t even try to comprehend the mind-set that insists that “shared” sacrifices are those that fall exclusively on the people most likely to be hurt by them, so that millionaires and billionaires can be protected from returning to the historically low rates during the Clinton Administration. If Congress really believes that protecting millionaires’ pocketbooks leads to job creation, that they are protecting people who will invest in new jobs, why not raise their rates, but give them a generous tax credit for every job they create?
I could go on, but so could most of you reading this. We seem to live in a world where logic based upon credible information has become a very rare commodity.
So here is my question: what should reasonable people living in an unreasonable age do?