Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If the United States Government Was a Couch

Yes, I've been in a political mood lately. What can I say, it's nearing November and I'm hearing so much stuff that the opinions are leaking out of my ears. This is the benefit of having your own blog; nobody but me tells me what to say. The only measure I have of how bored people are getting is how many readers I lose, and um...look, I'm sure I'll get back to talking about crazy Silver Age comics pretty soon, OK?

In any event, today I wanted to talk a bit about balancing the budget, and more specifically about the Republican plan for doing so. They tend to talk about it in two ways: First, about the need to cut taxes. (Which I'd be fine with, if not for the fact that Republicans only think taxes can go one way: Down. No matter how low the taxation is, you can always find Republicans who will insist that the only cure for whatever current crisis we have is to lower taxes.) Second, though, is that we'd be fine if we just cut all the "waste" out of the federal budget.

Now, I'm not going to say that there's no waste in the federal budget. In fact, that's why their argument seems so strong; every time someone makes it, they go through the entire federal government with a fine-tooth comb and find an example of someone whose job it is to regulate ear sizes on rabbits raised for meat, or a department that spent $50 million dollars on boats just in case they need to go to sea as part of their job at the Department of Cactus Management. That's part and parcel of any big organization; the bigger it is, the more likely that something nuts gets lost in the nooks and crannies. You also hear about it in private enterprise; I recall reading about one company whose inter-office mail was so inefficient that employees were sending envelopes from one floor to another via FedEx. (Federal Express: When you're absolutely, positively too damn lazy to walk it down three flights of stairs by yourself.)

But here's the key--just because you find waste, that doesn't mean that there's an unlimited amount of waste to be found. Once you find it and fix it, it's gone, and it's a relatively small percentage of the money you need. It'd be like finding two bucks in change in your sofa cushions one day, then finding another three bucks a week later, and somehow coming to the conclusion that you can quit your job and live off the unlimited largesse of your couch.

The decisions we need to make to balance the budget aren't easy ones. Anyone who says they are--Republican or Democrat--is either lying to you, or is too damn stupid to know what they're talking about. Either way, they should be kept as far away from government as humanly possible.


Anonymous said...

If the Canadian government was a couch, I'd kick John Baird off to go get a soda, then put my legs up on his cushion before he got back. It's always fun to watch him turn strange colours when he's angry.

Anonymous said...

Here's the difference between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of government waste that needs to be cut:

Democrats believe that, since we have enough bombs and missiles to destroy the planet 50 times over, it is government waste to try to double that amount of bombs and missiles.

Republicans believe that it is government waste to provide food and shelter for the neediest of our people, to help children get an education, and to keep the elderly from dying homeless, since if we get rid of birth control we can always just make more.

Democrats believe that it is government waste to spend millions of dollars keeping prisoners locked up for life instead of rehabilitating them.

Republicans believe that it is government waste to spend thousands of dollars rehabilitating prisoners instead of spending millions of dollars to keep them locked up for life.

Democrats believe it is government waste to keep starting new wars for bogus ideas.

Republicans believe it is government waste to maintain our veterans' hospitals and to take care of our wounded veterans once they return from these bogus wars.

Democrats believe it is government waste to keep giving free money to banks and businesses "too big to fail" when instead one could give the money to the neediest members of our society.

Republicans believe it is government waste to give money to anyone other than banks and big business, and to help with the needy! (In their version of the Bible, Jesus didn't say to help the poor, He said "help the poor /jk!" as a gag.)