“I’m sure the panel did what it was asked to do, but it was asked to do the wrong thing.”

Quote of the Day for Friday, Dec. 3rd, 2010:

J.E. Dyer, posting in the Green Room over at HotAir (cross-posted here), on the misplaced priorities of the Presidential Debt Commission, in an article titled: Debt Reduction Versus Government Reduction:

Members of the public who object to the proposed measures will be denigrated as whining and irresponsible. Some of them probably are. But that’s not the point. The point is that, in the debt-reduction panel’s plan, gouging American households to pay down the debt is being done instead of reducing the size of government.  We should eliminate whole federal agencies and many pounds of regulatory tomes before we ask Americans to choose between saving for retirement and buying a home, or between paying for medical care and sending kids to college.  Life by itself imposes choices on us; but when government gets into the business of picking and choosing, or forcing canned choices on us, the silly, subjective question of who’s “being a big baby” actually starts infecting our political decisions.  That is 100% detrimental to communal life.

Our contributor benefits are unsustainable. But they are part of a larger problem of unsustainability created by holistic, prophylactic government. We could actually afford both Social Security and Medicare a lot better if government regulation weren’t actively suppressing business formation today; if government regulation didn’t drive every aspect of the cost of medical practice up; if government regulation didn’t drive consumer prices up and make COLAs necessary; and if government regulation didn’t divert so much worker compensation from worker income to employers’ other mandated, per-worker remissions (non-Social Security/non-Medicare) to the government.

A presidential debt-reduction panel should not be proposing to us that Americans accept a reduced lifestyle so that the current footprint of government doesn’t have to change. As we say in the military, that’s bass-ackward. It’s what this panel has just done. I’m sure the panel did what it was asked to do, but it was asked to do the wrong thing.

I think she’s spot-on. Just as the TEA Party’s eponymous focus on taxation somewhat clouds the fact that problematical public spending is what drives the need for taxation, the current focus on debt reduction obscures the fact that the scope of governmental activity is what drives the deficit spending leading to debt.

The proposal put on the table is basically one that says: let’s try to do the same thing only cheaper (budget cuts), and by shifting some of the debt off of the public books onto the citizenry (increased taxation) by forcing them to either compromise their long-term financial security & independence by taking on personal debt and/or reducing savings, or to scale back their household spending and giving, therein shrinking the economy, and exacerbating the whole bloody mess.

An economically bright outlook depends on families investing in their futures and in their communities, not the machinations of a political class ready and willing to sacrifice everything else to secure the perpetuation of its own comfortable status quo.