Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reasonable, but Probably Naive, Questions

Brent e-mailed me this the other day:
Why is discretionary spending causing an uproar when it comes to saving money?  Why aren't we looking at ways to fix the structural problems associated with Social Security, Medicare, Medicade [sic] , etc?  It's like we're more focused on saving pennies instead of saving dollars.
This is very reasonable position - from either side of the political spectrum.

Unfortunately, this is not a new thing. It has been a dominating and persistent issue in American politics since Jimmy Carter ran as an "outsider" in 1976.

After that length of time, I think it's also reasonable to infer that either "they" can't or won't address those questions.

"Can't" would mean that the political system is broken with respect to economic priorities.

"Won't" would mean that the political parties are broken with respect to economic priorities.

So, without offending Brent, I think perhaps we should view posing this question as naive. We work under the assumption that the political system and parties are capable of addressing problems of current concern. If they can't or won't do so, then the appropriate question is not why they don't do this, but how do we change the system so that they might be able to begin.

More on this as we go through the course; it's an ongoing problem.

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