Is Any Sacrifice At All, Too High?
Problem: We need to cut spending (taxes could also be raised, but we do certainly need to cut spending). Both left and right have solutions (that involve cutting the programs the other side considers important, be it HUD or SDI). So it just becomes a political football, used to bash the programs you already don’t like, and no attempt to actually solve anything.
Approach: Find things both dominant political doctrines would like to cut. Not just random inefficiency and waste that’s as hard to root out as it is to just keep funding it (ever heard of the Paperwork Reduction Act?). Significant expenditures that are clearly wasteful.
Solution: Cut spending that exists only because of sectional interests, or Committee path dependency (that the budget for the military is determined by the Armed Services Committee. They’ll happily cut veteran benefits before SDI, so the Appropriations Committee is strong armed into giving them all they ask for.) But that a majority still supports.
Targets: Obsolete bases. Agricultural subsidies. Pork barrel tourist museums.
Unfortunately they don’t get cut because of the unique nature of legislative system (that really, really emphasizes the power of individual representatives from certain sections of the country – particularly the power to keep the status quo). And everyone in DC is consigned to believing that this is the way it ever shall be.
Which is why it makes me sad when I see one of my favorite blogs, Wampum, arguing so vociferously against base closures that affect his area. Small towns not caring about the rest of the country are part of what’s screwing us over so much.