Politicians lately have been floating plans to balance the budget and save the nation from bankruptcy.
I’ve looked at a few of them. They have something in common: the cash handouts that voters love, and the huge deficits to which they contribute, are never scheduled to change until after the next election.
The press releases, blog posts, etc., offer as justification a single, misleading statistic, e.g., “My plan will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years.” It would be more honest to report how much the plan would increase the national debt, since reducing the debt is the whole point of the exercise, but that wouldn’t play nearly so well with the voters: “My plan will add $10 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years.”
Robert A. Heinlein said:
…when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death….
I have a few ideas for balancing the budget and paying off the national debt; they all seem to involve public humiliation of Congresscritters. Alas, while that may provide a certain emotional satisfaction, it isn’t very practical. (I’d pay cash money to see the Speaker of the House wearing an I Voted for Deficits dunce cap. Wouldn’t you?)