Friday, May 22, 2009

We have met enemy, and it is us.

As the United States with its ever-growing deficits, and its even larger "off the books" liabilities, heads on a clear course to having a junk credit rating in 18 years, shall we blame and damn the politicians who keep manufacturing these deficits? For forgetting their duty to protect the nation's future welfare?

Well, yes, of course!

But on the other hand, there's another culprit here as well.

After all, politicians are answerable to the voters ... it is their job to get elected by the voters ... and we the voters have made it very clear to them what we want.

From a Harris Interactive Poll...

A 71 percent to 15 percent majority of adults do not think "it is necessary to increase taxes to reduce the budget deficit". Large majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents feel this way.

Even if taxes "had to be raised", very large majorities oppose raising the estate tax (64%) gas taxes (82%), income taxes (81%), the social security tax (83%), and the Medicare tax (87%) [What else is there?] ...

When it comes to cutting government spending, there is little support for cutting any substantial programs. Given a list of twelve federal government programs and asked to pick two which should be cut ("if spending had to be cut") space programs top the list by a wide margin (51%).

Significant minorities, all under 30 percent, pick welfare programs (28%), defense spending (28%), farm subsidies (24%), environmental programs (16%), homeland security (12%) and transportation (11%).

Hardly anyone would cut Medicaid (4%), education (3%), Social Security (2%) or Medicare (1%).

While the programs that are on course to bankrupting the United States are, in order of importance: Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.

And there we are, all is explained.

"Democracy is a political system based on the belief that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
-- H.L. Mencken.

[Hat tip re the survey to the astute John Henke.]