If you don't have a deal,
Then how you gonna get a budget through?
For those of you who remember South Pacific, the musical, the song, Happy Talk, you get the above reference.
The Happy Talk was all over the Sunday News Shows. Experts pointing fingers and talking about Raising Taxes and Cutting Entitlements. And Boy! Are they happy!
Oh, they may look serious and concerned, but they are tickled pink. They talk of Putting the Burden on Middle Class Americans and Catastrophic Damage to the American Economy.
But there is only the one budget they are talking about (when a question gets answered at all). Let's talk about the other budget. Let's define our terms.
Entitlements are being defined as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the one we all paid for from the first day we worked. These are the programs we love, so cutting them sounds horrific.
There are other entitlements.
There is Federal money going to support undocumented (illegal) aliens in several states – California, North Carolina and Texas for three that are pretty obvious. There are signs in Spanish at the border telling those who cross to get to North Carolina for a free pass. The free pass includes money, food, housing, transportation and education – all gratis.
There is Federal Welfare, which has a huge infrastructure to do nothing but give free money to those who contribute nothing to the national production.
There are millions and billions given to United States Territories, which receive the same benefits of states but pay no taxes.
And millions and billions given to foreign countries, some of which hate us and actively work against us, which get us nothing.
There are millions going to Federal Programs that have been over for years or are useless, such as the psychiatric study to discover why men in prison are depressed. Millions into the pockets of a small group of psychiatrists to study men in prison. Hm!
Would you like to cut tax breaks? Cut the huge tax breaks to two of the most profitable sectors in American Business – the oil companies, which are logging the highest profit levels in history, the history of any company in the world, and Big Pharma, which gets billions in tax breaks and even government money for “development” of new drugs, and then charges big-time for the results.
The argument, if it comes up at all, for these is that they are not very big categories and would not save us much if they were cut.
Horse-biscuits! In the first place, I don't believe it, because every time I read a report about these tax-breaks, it's in the millions, if not billions. In the second place, if it is true, so what? A little here and a little there could save Social Security.
Suppose your family sat down at the table to discuss the family budget. OK, I know, that's a fantasy, but suppose it happened, just for argument's sake. Would you cut out food, clothing and shelter first thing? Or would you look good and hard for things that could be cut without endangering life and limb?
Suppose you wanted to go on a diet. Would you begin by depriving your lungs of air, so they would shrink in size? Would you cut out your liver, spleen and stomach? No, you would believe there must be a better way.
The Sunday morning talk shows have been all about the budget today, but only two things were discussed, raising taxes and cutting entitlements. However, no one mentioned eliminating tax breaks to the sections of society already making more money than Midas, and no one mentioned eliminating the entitlements that are really sucking this country dry, the money going to people who are contributing nothing to our country except to the crime rate.
If we want to get the country back on it's financial track, we have to get some people on the job who are willing to look at the whole picture. Let's hear about the other budget, the one nobody seems willing to adjust.
Are there hard choices to make? Yes, there are. But the smart decisions aren't politically hurtful to the other party, so neither side wants to make them. The bi-partisan decision would be to cut the fat, the unnecessary expenditures, the old, retired programs and the favorites that help no one but a few special interest groups with loud front men.
Perhaps it would help if the Sunday Morning Talk Shows got some guests who are willing to really talk about the subject rather than stoke the argument, point fingers and lay blame. It's time for a new panel, one that gives us more than “Happy Talk.”