April 18, 2014

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At The Risk Of Repeating Myself...

A new poll raises and addresses some issues I have already written about.

OK, so we have to cut the budget.  Now, where do we make cuts?

That's basically what people from across the country were asked in a just-released poll by the Associated Press and CNBC.  While it was obviously aimed at the federal budget, it could have implications for those concerned with budget defecits in Ohio, in Parkersburg and Marietta.

Instead of explaining it myself, I'll show you what the AP reported:

"85% percent worry that growing red ink will harm future generations - the strongest expression of concern since AP polls began asking the question in 2008. 56% percent think the shortfalls will spark a major economic crisis in the coming decade."

The AP went on to say: "As for detailed cures, the poll shows little agreement - a problem that has long bedeviled lawmakers who often speak about taming federal deficits but seldom vote to do so. Given more than a dozen options for helping balance the budget, majorities backed just four: Reduce the number of federal workers, trim their salaries, cut overseas military bases and eliminate the tax deduction on home mortgage interest in exchange for lower income tax rates."

"'I'm sure there's waste somewhere," Terri Davis, 44, a travel company employee from Ashburn, Va. said in the story. "'But I like a lot of government programs that keep order in the streets, that do research about what's dangerous. A lot of things are worthwhile.'"

Exactly.  At the federal level, it's social programs such as Medicare and Social Security, and, with a "War on Terror" going on, the military.  At the state level, it's services like highways and job services.  And at the local level, it's just about everything: police, fire, streets, water, sewer, trash removal...you name it.

And I'll repeat what I said in my previous blog: there isn't any service that no one wants cut.  No matter which one is on the proverbial "chopping block", there's some person or group who benefits from it who doesn't want it cut.  And depending on the service, that person or group will make enough noise to make sure the reduction or outright cut doesn't happen. (At the state and federal level, that group is known as a "lobbyist".)

Bottom line: no politician or officeholder who values his/her job is willing to support those cuts/reductions if a group or even an individual who makes enough noise is against it. The rare exceptions rarely stay in office very long, whether they deserve to or not.

I've said for a long time that the only fair way to deal with budget defecits is: cut everything.  No matter how beneficial, vital or popular a program is, it doesn't matter.  If it's a part of a budget, then, theoretically, it's a part of the problem.  Don't necessarily cut it altogether, but reduce it's funding just enough that it contributes to balancing the budget.

You don't think that's fair? Then, you're confusing the meaning of "fair" with the meaning of "popular". 

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