The Mountain Behind the Molehill

Thursday, June 06, 2013

I'd thought I'd already read all I needed to about the failure of "austerity" declared by the left, but I took a look at John Stossel's column anyway. I didn't expect to blog it, but here I am. The following concretization is brilliant:

Consider this family budget:

Annual Income ---- $24,500

Annual Spending ---- $35,370

New Credit Card Debt ---- $10,870

Existing Debt ---- $167,600

When I show that to people, they laugh and say the family is "irresponsible." They are dismayed when I point out that those are really America's budget numbers, with eight zeros removed
With the same alacrity that he explains the extent of our national debt, he explains how easily we could tackle the problem.

After reading his column, one would think that Americans would snap to and demand that our national budget be fixed. This won't happen, and by coincidence, Michael Hurd has recently posted a quotation from Ayn Rand that helps us understand why: "The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see."

Mathematically, our budget deficit is an easy problem. Culturally, it is Mount Everest. The mountain can be climbed, but it will require what the abolitionists called "moral suasion". People overspend because they accept the idea that we are our brothers' keepers (or worse, are entitled to being kept). At least Stossel's clarity makes the underlying problem far easier to see. People must be persuaded that it is bad (in the moral and practical senses of the word) for everyone for the government to run the economy, be it by the outright passing-around of looted wealth or the folly of central "planning".

-- CAV


Steve D said...

We are past the point of easy return for sure, on both an economic and cultural level. No matter how this shakes out, a whole lot of people (good with the bad) are going to suffer.

Gus Van Horn said...

Call it injustice with interest, if you will.