The radical right may be correct about the budget.
Most readers have double checked the byline at this point. The column has not been hijacked. There is always a possibility that the people who want to starve the government are onto something. Naturally, lots of people disagree. But for the sake of argument, let’s give them a free pass on some of their ideas.
Let’s start with the idea that it costs too much to run the government. Let’s also give them their own way with reducing spending. No more programs for poor folk. None. Zip. Work or starve. Sounds cold, but let’s do it anyway.
So, as a result of no more free rides for anyone, some really unlucky people died, a bunch more have become contributing members of society, and a third part of the impoverished population has turned to begging in the streets.
There are two things we can do about the beggars: grin and bear it, which is what most of the rest of the world does, or, if we’re really going to use right-wing ideas, we can outlaw begging. After the fight in the Supreme Court, SCOTUS declares that begging is not an expression of free speech. We conclude that begging is illegal, but getting rid of beggars is an unfunded mandate, so we’re really stuck with option 1. By the way, that court fight was pretty pricey, and we had to pay for it so we could prove that the beggars did not have the right to ask people to help alleviate their misery.
So, we’ve gotten rid of the Department of Health and Human Services. We have reduced the cost of government by a whopping 4.2 per cent-four cents out of every dollar. Thanks, poor folks. Even though there are fewer of you, you really have done your part to bring prosperity back to America.
So let’s get on to really tightening our belts. Next, we can get rid of that pesky department of Education. That ought to satisfy lots of people. We can let our children be dishwashers and maids, and allow the rest of the world to spend money on education. That way we can all work for them. So. . .bye-bye education. We’ve trimmed another 1.4 per cent of the budget.
It seems that we aren’t making much progress. Well, we could cut military spending by half. That would result in a reduction of 11 per cent. But that is not sensible. The radical right would never do such a thing. On to the next idea.
The EPA is a pain in the bottom line, so let’s cut them completely. Wow. We just shaved $ .02 from every $10 the federal government spends (0.22 per cent). A quick look at how getting rid of items in the budget by cutting entire departments is going: Cut all of the above except defense, and we’ve saved 5 per cent of the budget. The number of dollars, however is rather impressive: $177 billion. Of course cutting the DOD by half would have saved us $391 billion, but we are not willing to do that.
The federal government can save another 2 per cent by not spending money on transportation. Private enterprise will step into the gap here. That will bring the savings spree to $247 billion dollars, but to put that in perspective, it doesn’t even begin to balance the budget. In fact, we’ve only reduced the deficit for this year from $1.4 trillion to $1.2 trillion.
The Troubled Asset Relief Program is tremendously unpopular. Cutting it completely will save another 4 per cent, bringing the deficit to an even $1 trillion.
So what’s a wingnut to do?
Well, you can save lots of money by hanging the boomers out to dry. Getting rid of Medicare completely won’t do it alone. Getting rid of Medicare and Social Security will cut $0.31 from every dollar spent by the federal government. Add that to the puny cuts above, and we close the pesky hole in the budget. In fact, we have $88 billion dollars to spend on tax relief. The people who are no longer going to collect Social Security are probably not going to want to continue to pay social security taxes, which is going to complicate the budget problem, but for the moment, let’s assume that they decide to be good sports and pay anyway.
The public debt will go to nothing very quickly. Everyone will be prosperous (or dead) and private enterprise will save us.
Wait-we can’t do that. The average tea partier is on Social Security and Medicare. Yeah, so? They didn’t mind bumping off the poor folks, or cutting education for the young folks, so is it not their patriotic duty to give up those entitlements? It will save them on their taxes.
The budget is now fixed. We’ve gotten rid of poor people, those pesky intellectual elitists, and the old farts. Those of you who don’t fit into one of those categories should have a very nice, if slightly boring time without us.