Defeating Deficit Reduction Sob Stories

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The money to be saved by cutting off agricultural subsidies to the wealthy and the big corporations is vastly greater than the money to be saved by cutting off Planned Parenthood or National Public Radio, much as they both deserve to be cut off.

If spending cuts are to be done strategically, a good strategy to follow would be that of General Douglas MacArthur in World War II. General MacArthur realized that he didn’t have to attack every Pacific island held by the Japanese. He captured the islands that he had to capture, in order to get within striking distance of Japan.

In peace as in war, there is no point wasting time and resources attacking heavily defended enemy positions that you don’t have to take.

Social Security and Medicare are supposed to be among the most difficult programs to cut without ruinous political consequences. However, it is not necessary to attack all the spending on these programs in order to make bigsavings.

Instead of attacking these programs as a whole, what is far more vulnerable is the compulsory aspect of these programs. If Medicare is so great, why is it necessary for the government to force people to be covered by Medicare as a precondition for receiving the money they paid into Social Security?

Many people with private health insurance would rather continue to rely on that, instead of being trapped in Medicare red tape. It is not a question of taking away Medicare but allowing people to opt out, saving the taxpayer from having to subsidize something that many people don’t want.

It is not a question of forcing people off Social Security either. But private  retirement  accounts can offer a better deal.

Even someone who retires when the stock market is down is almost certain to get a bigger pension from a decent mutual fund than from Social Security.

By giving young people the option, while continuing to honor commitments to retirees and those nearing retirement age, the sob story defense of runaway spending can be nipped in the bud.


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  • Bob Madden

    Leave it to Mr. Sowell to come up with a novel approach. I LOVE IT!

  • davarino

    I agree, what are we doing waisting all our energy right now trying to defund NPR and Planned Parenthood. Go after stuff that is low hanging fruit and you get a star on the forehead. You can cut that other stuff after 2012 : )

  • Gamaliel Isaac

    When the Democrats wail that people are gonna die if spending is cut we need to point out what will happen if it is allowed to continue to grow. A lot more people are going to die because the money they get for medicare and medicaid will be worthless and they won' t be able to afford medicine or hospitals etc.

  • Raymond in DC

    Agree. Take corn ethanol subsidies (please). I'd like to see not just Democrats but Republicans defend supporting a bogus "green" fuel, a program that, in the process, drives up food prices not just here but worldwide, leading to political and social unrest in developing countries.