Subscribe via email


Monthly Archives


Post Categories

Tag Index

1st Corinthians 1st Peter 1st Timothy 2nd Corinthians 2nd Peter 60 Minutes 1970s A. G. Sertillanges Abby Abortion Absurdity Academia Accordance Adoration Advent Aesthetics Affluence Agenda Aging AIDS Alan Keyes Alasdair MacIntyre Alexander Solzhenitsyn Algebra Al Gore Alienation Alvin Plantinga America American Culture American Enterprise Institute Americanism Amnesty International Anand Giridharadas Andrew Hacker Andrew R. Grainger Andy Rooney Angela Merkel Anglicanism Anthropocentrism Anthropology Anti-Bullying Anti-Christ Anti-clericalism Antigonish AP Apologetics Apostle Thomas Appearances Archangel Raphael Archbishop Charles Chaput Archbishop Harry Flynn Archbishop Sean O'Malley Art Asininity Assassination Athanasius Atheism Audio Books Austria Authority Avery Cardinal Dulles Balkanization Banality Barack Obama Barbara Bellar Barney Frank Beatles Belgium Belief Ben Johnson Berlin Wall Bias Bible Bible.org Bible Explorer Bible in English Bible Software Reviews Bible Translations BibleWorks Bill Cottle Bill O'Reilly Bill Whittle Bishop Robert Morlino Bitterclinging Black Friday Blackmail Blessed Sacrament Bloggers Unite Blogging Bloomberg Bobby Jindal Bob Schieffer Bono Book of Tobit Book of Wisdom Books Bosco Peters Boston.com Boston Bruins Boston Globe Boston Pilot Bourgeois Ethics Boyhood Boys Bozo BP Brendan O'Neill Bullying Bureaucracy Burial Cacophony California Campaign Funding Cancer Canon Law Cap 'N Trade Capitalism Car Seats Catechesis Catechism Catherine Lawless Catholic Church Catholic Culture Catholicism Catholic Lane Catholic Schools Causation CBA CBO CBS CCD CEB Celebrity Celebrity Psychopath of the Week Censorship Certain Urgency Charismata Charity Charlie Baker Chattering Class Chernobyl Chicanery Children Children & Media China Chris Christie Chris Squire Christendom Christian Art Christianity Christina Harms Christmas Chuck Colson Church Citizenship Civics Civility Civilization Civil Rights Civil Unions Clarence Dupnik Clergy Sexual Abuse Close to the Edge CNSNews Coercion Cognitive Dissonance College Culture Comedy Commerce Clause Commonweal Communism Community Commuting Competition Compromise Computing Condoms Confiscatory Taxation Conflict Congregationalism Congress Congressional Powers Conservatism Constantinople Constitutionality Consumerism Contempt Contraception Conversion Coping Cosmology Counterculture Cover Up Creativity Credentialing Credo Cremation Criminality Crisis Magazine Cult Culture Culture Wars Dad Daily Mail Damien of Molokai Dante Darfur Darwinism Dave Bainbridge David B Hart David Brooks David Frum David Linsky David Mills David Thompson Daylight Saving Time DDC Death Debt Deficit Commission Deficit Spending Definitions Dehumanization Democracy Democratic Socialism Democrat Party Department of Education Dependency Der Spiegel Despair Deuteronomy Deval Patrick Development Devotion Dichotomy Disbelief Discernment Discipline Discrimination Disease Disorder Dispensationalism Disrespect Dissent Dissipation Diversity Divinization Do-Goodism Doctor Assisted Suicide Douglas Farrow Dred Scott Drinking Dualism Earth Day Easter Eastern Religion eBooks Ecclesiology Echo Chamber Economic Crisis Economics Ecumenism Ed Markey Ed Morrissey Ed Schultz Education Edward Feser Edward Winslow Egalitarianism Eleanor Clift Election '08 Election '10 Election 2012 Electronic Publishing Elizabeth Scalia Elizabeth Warren Empathy Empiricism England Enlightenment Entertainment Entitlement Entitlements Environmentalism Envy Ephesians Epiphany Episcopacy Episcopal Church Epistemology Equality Equating Eric Holder Eschatology ESV Eternity Ethics Eucharist Eugenics Euphemism Europe European Union Euthanasia Evangelization Evolution Evolutionism Ewald Stadler Experience Experts Extortion Ezekiel Facebook Faith Faith & Reason Faithfulness Fall of Rome Family Fascism Fashion Fast & Furious Fatherhood Fausta Wertz FCC Fear Felix Just Feminism Fidelity First Amendment First Things Folly Forgiveness Founding Fathers Fourth Estate FOX News Frances Titchenor Franciscan University Fraud Fred Baumann Freedom Free Lunch Free Speech Free Will Friendship Funerals G. F. Handel Gabrielle Giffords Gaia Galatians Garage Light Gay Marriage Genesis George Carlin George Orwell George Tiller George W Bush George Weigel Georgia Warnke Gerry Dembrowski Gerush92 Glenn Beck Global Warming Gnosticism God Good Good Friday Good Samaritan Gorecki Gospel Gospel of John Gospel of Luke Gospel of Mark Gospel of Matthew Gospels Gossip Government Grace Graciousness Great Britain Great Entitlement Society Greece Green Movement Grief Guardian Gun Control Gunwalker Handel & Haydn Hannah Arendt Hans Urs von Balthasar Harry Christophers Harry Potter Harry Reid Hating HCSB Health Healthcare Healthcare Reform Heaven Hegel Henri de Lubac Henry E Hudson Heresy Heritage Foundation Hidden Treasure Higher Education Hiroshima History Hitler Holiday Season Holiness Homosex Hope Hospitality HotAir Housing HTML editors Hubris Human Dignity Human Flourishing Humanities Human Nature Human Rights Humility Hypocrisy Hysteria iBreviary Idealism Ideas Identity Ideology Idolatry iEducation Illness Imago Dei Immorality Imperialism Incarnation Incivility Individualism Indulgence Infantilism Insipidity Insurance Intellect Intercession Intergenerational Theft Interiorizing Culture Iona Iowahawk Irony Irresponsibility Isaiah Islam Italy J.E. Dyer J. Gresham Machen Jack Wagner James Pethokoukis James V. Schall Janet Daley Jay Rockefeller Jazz Shaw Jefferson Starship Jeff Jacoby Jeremiah Jesus Christ Jewish Advocate Jews JFK Jill Stein Jimmy Carter Joanne Hogg Joe Biden Joe Carter Joe Scarborough Joe Wilson John Henry Newman John Jalsevac John Kerry John Locke John McCain John Roberts John Sommerville John the Baptist John Ziegler Jonah Jonathan Last Jonathan Sperry Joseph Stalin Journaling Journalism Joy Joyce Judaism Judgment Judgmentalism Judiciary Jurisprudence Justice Just War K-8 Kant Kathryn Lopez Keith Olbermann Ken Cuccinelli Kermit Gosnell Keynesianism Killing King David Kingdom of God KKK Knights of Columbus Knowledge L'Osservatore Romano Labor Laity Language Larceny Law Lazarus Laziness Learning Lectionary Leftism Legacy Legality Lent Leprosy Letter to Hebrews Letter to Romans Leviathan Liberal Education Liberalism Libertarianism Liberty Libraries LibraryThing Libretti Libya Licentiousness Lidwig Feuerbach Lies LifeSiteNews LifeWay Light Light Dawns on Marble Head Limited Government Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Liturgy of the Hours Logos Lordship Love Luciano Storero Lumen Gentium Lying Macintosh Magi Manhattan Declaration Mara Hvistendahl Marcel Guarnizo Marco Rubio Margaret Becker Margaret Marshall Marketing Mark T. Coppenger Marriage Martin Cothran Martin Heidegger Marxism Mary Eberstadt Mary Magdalene Mary Rose Somarriba Massachusetts Massachusetts SJC Massasoit Materalism Maternity Mathematics Matthew Hanley Matt Labash Mattress Girl MaybeToday.org Mayflower Meaning Media Ethics Media Hype Medicaid Medical Ethics Medicare Memory Mercy Methodology Mexico City Policy Michael Hanby Michael Moore Michelle Bachmann Michelle Malkin Mike Pence Milos Forman Miracles Misanthropy Misbehavior Miscenegation Mitch Daniels Mitt Romney Moammar Qaddafi Mockery Modernism Modernity Modern Scholar Mom Moral Doctrine Moral Imbecility Moralism Morality Moral Philosophy Mortimer J Adler Motherhood Mother Teresa Motives Movies MSBA MSM MSNBC Music NAB NABRE Nancy Pelosi Nanny State Naomi Achaefer Riley Nasta & Yulia Natick National Council of Churches National Day of Prayer Nationalism National Review National Socialism Natural Rights Nature NEA Negligence New American Bible New English Translation New Marriage News Product Newsweek New Testament New York Times Niall Ferguson Nigel Farage Nighttime Nihilism Noli me Tangere Nonsense Now Reading NY Times O Antiphons ObamaCare Occam's Razor Occupy OEB Old Testament Olive Tree Ontology Operation Rescue Opinion Ordinary Time Organ Sales Origen Original Sin Orthodoxy Osama bin Laden OWD Paganism Papacy Parables Parenting Partisanship Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry Passion of Christ Pat Caddell Patheos Pathology Patriarchy Paul Erlich Paul Ryan PC Study Bible Pearl of Great Price Pederasty Pedophilia Pentecostalism Permissiveness Perpetual Outrage Perseverance Personhood Pete Jermann Peter Augustine Lawler Peter Kreeft Peter L. Berger Peter Sanchioni Peter Seewald Peter Thiel Phenomenology Philosophical Naturalism Philosophy Pieta Pieties Piety Pilgrims Pink Floyd Planned Parenthood Plato Plenty Plymouth Plantation Poland Political Correctness Political Discourse Political Economy Political Resistance Political Science Pop Culture Criticism Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Leo XIII Pop Music Pornography Postmodernism Poverty Power Pradis Prayer Preaching Priestcraft Priesthood Principles Priorities Prison Fellowship Prisons Privacy Private Schooling Privatization Pro-Lifers Procrastination Producers Progressivism Propaganda Property Property Rights Propheticism Prosperity Prostitution Protestantism Pseudo-Morality Public Discourse Public Order Public Schooling Public Spending Punishment Puritans QotD QuickVerse Racialism Racism Radicalism Rape Rape Culture Rationality Rationing Ravi Zacharias Reading Reality Rebecca Reconciliation Redemptionis Sacramentum Reform Regeneration Regensburg Regulations Relationships Relativism Religion Religiosity Religious Art Religious Dialog Religious Liberty Religious Repression Rent Seeking Repentance Republican Party Rerum Novarum Resomation Responsibility Resurrection Revelation Revolutions Rhetoric Richard Fernandez Richard John Neuhaus Richard Nixon Richard Wright Rick Santorum Rick Wakeman Rick Warren Righteousness Rita L. Marker Robert Barron Robert R. Reilly Robert T. Miller Rock Music Rod Decker Roe v. Wade Roger Vinson Roman Empire Romans Romanticism Romneycare Ronald Reagan Ron Dellums Ross Douthat Rush Limbaugh Ruth Ruth Marcus Ryan Messmore Sacrality Sacramentalism Sacraments Saint Augustine Saint Francis Saint Francis de Sales Saint Ismeria Saint Jerome Saint Maximilian Kolbe Saint Nicholas Saint Paul Saint Paul School Saint Peter Salvation Same-Sex Marriage Sanctification Sanctity Santa Claus Sarah Palin Satisfaction Scandal Scapegoating Schooling Science Scott Brown Scott Harrington SCOTUS Sean Bielat Self Discipline Self Knowledge Sentimentality Sermonizing Sexuality Sexual Revolution ShareThis Sharon Angle Sigmund Freud Sin Singing Slander Slavery Smoking SNAP Social Contract Social Engineering Socialism Socializing Children Social Justice Social Studies Sociology Socrates Solidarity Solutions Sonia Sotomayor Soteriology Soul Southern Poverty Law Center Soviet Union Speeches Speech Police spiked-online Spirituality SSM St. Augustine Church St. Patrick Church Standardization Statism Stem Cells Stephen Kinzer Stephen Prothero Sterilization Stewardship Strange Fire Stress Study Study Bibles Stupidity Subjective Objectivity Subjectivism Subsidiarity Suffering Sunday Readings Supernatural Superstition Symbolism Syncretism Tabernacle Talk Radio Taxation Tax Shelters Teaching TEA Party Technology Ted Kennedy Ted Koppel Temporizing Temptation Terl Bryant Tetragrammaton Thanksgiving The Catholic Thing Theism Theology Theology of the Body Theosis Theotokos Therese of Lisieux The Telegraph TheWeek.com Thinking Thomas Aquinas Thomas F Madden Thomas G. Guarino Thomas Jefferson Tim Cahill Time Timothy Dalrymple Tolerance Tom Coburn Tony Blankley Tony Melchiorri Touchstone Townhall.com Trade-Offs Tradition Training Transcendence Transhumanism Transparency Treasure Trinitarianism Trivia Troy Donockley Truth Tunisia Turkey TV Tyranny U.S. Senate U2 UFOs Unbelief Unintended Consequences Unionism United Church of Christ Unity Universal Declaration of Human Rights Universalim Universities Upon this Rock USA Today USCCB US Congress Usurpation Utilitarianism Utopianism Vatican Vatican II Verbal Engineering Verbum Vice Victimhood Victor David Hanson Violence Virginia Postrel Virtue Vocation Voluntary Insanity Voters Voting Vulgarity w.bloggar W. Norris Clarke Waiting Walk for Life Wall Street Journal Walter Russell Mead War Warren Buffett Washington Post Watergate Wealth webEdit Weekly Standard Wesley J. Smith Western Civilization Wicca Will-to-Power William Callahan Will of God Windows Live Writer Winter Wisdom Witchcraft WordPress Words WORDsearch WORDsearch 5 WORDsearch 7 WORDsearch 8 WORDsearch 9 WORDsearch 10 WORDsearch 11 Work Works Worship WWJD Yes Yom Kippur Youth ZBS Zero-Tolerance ZfEval-Searching Zondervan

Tag Archive: Public Spending

A Belated Clarification

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 (1:12 am), by John W Gillis


Circumstances compel me to issue a clarification to a notion rendered in my last entry, from late December, lamenting the re-election of Barack Obama. My expressing a similar idea in a conversation prompted a sharp rebuttal that I was (wrongly and uncharitably) entertaining a conceit that everyone who voted to re-elect Obama did so either for trivial reasons, or out of naked self-interest. It is not true that I believe that, but I can understand how someone could come to that conclusion, given the cynical tone of my harangue.

I made two offending comments: one that “many people” had voted for him in 2008 because of the color of his skin (from which it was inferred that I therefore also meant to imply that the same occurred last November, which I did not say, but which I have no good reason to doubt happened on some scale, although I suspect it was not nearly the factor it was in 2008), and the other that “a majority of citizens are [now] willing to vote themselves other people’s money”, which I did say had appeared to have become a real possibility. What I said, I maintain, is true – in both cases. The first is demonstrable – nobody even tries to hide it until someone impolitic like myself is uncultured enough to point out its unseemliness in plain speech. The second I did not and do not assert as an accomplished fact, but did and do assert as either a real or near and impending crisis of political morality, representing the inevitable culmination of a century of domination of the American polity by political and social progressivism.

Neither of these claims, however, precludes the possibility of a principled support for Obama. I certainly have asserted that not all political support for Obama was of a principled nature, but that is not the same thing as saying that none of it was. I have no doubt that there is a core of true believers in the cause of progressivism who got behind Obama – as they get behind many other politicians from the Democrat Party, or other members of the left wing of the political landscape. In other words, there are people who actually believe this stuff. In fact, it’s silly to think that I think they don’t exist. So if you want to accuse me of claiming that all Obama supporters are either fools or knaves, I stand guilty as accused; I think it is utterly foolish to believe that the utopian nonsense of progressivism will produce anything but increased misery, impoverishment, dependence, enslavement, and social disorder, as it systematically funnels all the levers of social power into an ever-expanding, all-powerful state bureaucracy. But I categorically deny the charge that I think they are all knaves. There’s a difference.

Nonetheless, the point I was making, which referred to the crisis of political morality mentioned above, is that the Democrat Party, as the torch bearer for progressivism in America, has quite intentionally and systematically constructed an ever-growing constituency of self-interest, significantly augmenting that ideological core, through the enactment of policies that constantly increase dependence upon governmental “services” (e.g individual welfare subsidies; management of social crises) and “largesse” (e.g. institutional welfare; “friendly” tax code manipulation; grants and other funding), while simultaneously creating an ever-expanding constituency of direct dependents in the form of public sector employees whose livelihoods depend  on the secure growth of governmental reach into society.

Taking, as the most egregious example, public sector unions, the Democrat Party has assumed the role of sophisticated money launderer on behalf of the unions (or perhaps it would be even more accurate to say the unions act as money launderers for the Democrat Party), when, sitting as public officials and ersatz agents for the commonwealth, they allow the unions to fleece their neighbors through budget-breaking contract agreements (typically overloaded with sugardaddy-like risk removal) that quite transparently come attached with an implicit quid pro quo of solid political support for the Democrats, including the transference of public funds from tax revenues, through union salaries, to (mandatory) union dues, which finally make their way to political campaign contributions to the Democrat Party. The public sector unions are the largest political contributors in the U.S. (The NEA is consistently ranked #1), and virtually 100% of their “contributions” go to their sponsors: the Democrats. Every cent of that is tax dollars that are re-routed through the unions to the Democrats for campaigning against Republicans. Every cent. And this is legal.

But I digress. All of the government-dependent constituencies of the Democrat Party have similarly, if sometimes less radically, incestuous relationships in place with the party of the political class, cemented in place by the trading of tax revenue “allocations” for political support at the ballot box, an arrangement that seems to me to represent the very definition of political corruption. My complaint is that this arrangement promises to cannibalize the social contract that liberal society assumes as its foundation.

Furthermore, I have to say that I am simply not naïve enough to suppose that the vanguard of the political enterprise willing to use such means to achieve and consolidate power is necessarily to be found comprised of a full slate of idealistic but foolish true believers, who only want to see the flowering of the utopian future of “equality” and “justice” – and none who might better fit the description of knaves. The idealists may not be able to see it, but the truth of the matter is that when and if the leftist takeover is complete, the land will not be ruled by educated and sensitive idealists sipping wine in tweed jackets. Just saying…

No Child Left Unbooted in Natick

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 (11:49 pm), by John W Gillis


Natick, MA Superintendent of Schools Dr. Peter Sanchioni, putting a whole lot of clever lipstick earlier this month on a “looky what I found!” decision to raid a high school construction project’s (borrowed) contingency fund to underwrite – with tax dollars – a newly discovered necessity for educating teenagers: personal laptops for everyone:

"What we feel, and the case we’re going to make to the MSBA, is that they’ve totally underestimated what a technology budget should be in a 21st century school," Sanchioni said. "We don’t just want a model school in construction, we want a model school in instruction."

The plan, as laid out in this MetroWest Daily News article, calls for raiding the contingency fund of the new Natick High School building project to the tune of $2M, to provide personal laptops for every student in the 9-12 school by the time the new building opens in 2012 (the staff is already provided for). Essentially, that means borrowing this money for 20 years, but I’ll get to that.

This is wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start – and I’ve delayed posting this for days out of fear I’ll end up getting sucked into writing a long criticism.

To begin with, there’s the presumption that teens need computers to learn in the 21st century, or something like that. Well, I guess I don’t know how anyone else ever managed back in the Dark Ages of pen and paper, but I do know that kids primarily use computers for social networking, role playing, and procuring entertainments that span the gamut from the ditzy to the despicable, and I’m not seeing how saddling their notoriously undisciplined selves with such dubious tools during the school day is going to help their intellectual growth. I’ll put the primitively delivered education my two young daughters receive up against the iEducation of the tweeting teens any day.

Even if we incorrectly surmise that there is a real benefit to having classrooms full of laptop-carrying teens, there’s another poor assumption being put forth here that this makes for a proper expenditure of public funds. To the extent that computers are useful tools for producing work, it makes sense to make them publically available for use, both in schools and in public libraries that can be used outside of school hours, as has in fact been the case for years.

But it makes no more sense for the public to pay for privately-used computers for these kids than it would to publically provide for their personal clothing, their personal food, their personal eyeglasses or other medical needs, their personal automobile transportation, or the electricity they need to run their computers at home – and that’s just the beginning of the list of student “needs.” All of these things are, in one way or another, pre-requisite to the ability to use the laptops as intended, and therefore more fundamental. Perhaps in the eyes of the public school establishment, all these things should be publically provided for, either directly by a centralized government or through local soviets, but I trust most people can see both the moral and practical absurdity of it. There is absolutely no moral justification, in example, for taking tax dollars from long-time resident pensioners trying to hang onto their property, and funneling it in the form of “free” laptops to the teenagers of the nomadic dual-income professional families that often occupy the revolving-door McMansions that have become ubiquitous in Natick, as in so many similar towns.

That still doesn’t even touch the specific question of whether it is proper to use building project funds to purchase these laptops, or the even more specific question of whether it is fitting to do so by raiding the project contingency funds. The fact of the matter here is that these computers are being procured on a three-year lease, and being paid for by 20-year bonds. How insane is that? If you follow the link to the article, you can find a verbose Natick School Committee member in the comment boxes trying to rationalize this behavior with a pathetic “everybody does it” argument, but it is downright irresponsible to borrow money for 20 years to pay for expense items that not only have such a limited shelf life, but will surely demand replacement six or seven times over before the initial outlay (plus all the interest, of course) is paid off.

That fact exposes yet another tawdry element to all this: these computers are being procured off-budget today, but this act effectively commits the town to a perpetual budget hit of somewhere in the neighborhood of $800K annually to replace the third part of the computer supply that ages out of the three-year lease cycle each year. Everybody knows that it will be almost impossible politically to roll back the entitlement once it is in place – the entitlement peddlers always count on that.

On top of that, according to a March 7th report from Dennis Roche, the town’s Director of Technology, this proliferation of computers to every school kid (No Child Left Unbooted?) through this new entitlement program will necessitate the growth of an IT department to support them, which appears to be a staff of twelve people under the director, including a full-time support person in each middle school.

How do the middle schools play into this? And how do I come up with an $800K annual refresh cost for a three-year cycle on a $2M initial investment? Well, it turns out that this program has been being piloted in the middle schools’ 8th grade classrooms. The $2M buys laptops for 4 grade levels, but the program actually extends over 5 grade levels, bringing the total inventory cost to $2.5M, refreshed on a 3-year cycle. That’s assuming the 7th grade isn’t next at the feeding trough… And here again, a fact has come to light that exposes even more distinctly the tawdry character of this act.

The superintendent  and school committee began piloting this program in the 8th grade before the high school building project funds were authorized, but certainly after the project planning for the high school job was underway. Then they “found” the funds in building project contingency to saturate the high school level grades with computers procured off-budget, all but guaranteeing themselves a perpetual budget allocation to feed their beast. I don’t think I’d be going too far out on the limb of likelihood to suggest that they perhaps concocted this scheme from the beginning? That they got their way through chicanery can hardly be contested (the linked article calls it “creative ways,” but the point remains the same). And if the school building project runs into trouble and needs the contingency funds being diverted for iEducation?…

The risk plan, laid out plainly enough in the Dr. Sanchioni quote above, is the very embodiment of entitlementism: go back to the MSBA cash cow, and demand more. Now, I don’t know if the MSBA would actually do any such thing – my better self tells me that they would scoff both at the idea of scrapping the agreement they just completed with the town, and at the idea of including almost disposable but costly expense items in the funding for a capital project, and that Sanchioni probably knows that very well, and is just grandstanding to try to deflect taxpayer anger onto a higher level of government (a chronic ruse perpetuated by the less honorable among both the appointed and the elected), but my more cynical self tells me that the MSBA exists to spend taxpayer money, and may yet look favorably on the establishment of a new “essential” entitlement within its sphere of power.

And if that’s what ultimately happens, I can rest soundly, knowing that I will be paying for the laptops out of both my left pocket (state taxes) and my right pocket (municipal taxes), instead of just out of my right pocket. According to the folks like Dr. Sanchioni who sold the slumberous citizens of Natick this project to begin with, that’s like getting it for half price.

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

Posted: Friday, December 3, 2010 (6:00 am), by John W Gillis


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.