Economic Storm Clouds and a Potential Blue Sky

There’s a pair of columns on the web today that I found time to digest that are excellent and well worth your time. The first is by Paul A. Rahe, hosted by Big Government. Rahe is a Hoover Institution fellow, as is another columnist/historian I look up to, Victor Davis Hansen. This column lays out in quick — but pretty accurate — terms how we got to in our country’s current economic downturn, the mistakes that our leadership has made in dealing with the crisis, and most importantly, what very well might be the horizon for us if we don’t turn ship immediately. He makes the compelling case that the worst is yet to come, a view that I share. It’s not pretty. Spend 5 minutes and read it.

The second piece comes from TV’s newest reality show star, Sarah Palin. She writes an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, vigorously supporting Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” that was released earlier this year. I have more respect than ever for Palin in endorsing the plan. I’d agree with her that it’s the best plan proposed by anyone with actual power in the government. It shows that all the wailing in our capitol about how it’s impossible to balance the budget and to fix our structural fiscal issues is hogwash.

Now, most importantly, does our leadership have the courage to implement something like this? It’s radical, sure, but no more radical than the original programs — Social Security and Medicare — that got us into this mess to begin with. Probably more to the point, do the American people actually want this? Unfortunately, probably not yet. This is from a poll by Bloomberg:

Americans want Congress to bring down a federal budget deficit that many believe is “dangerously out of control,” only under two conditions: minimize the pain and make the rich pay.

The public wants Congress to keep its hands off entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. They oppose cuts in most other major domestic programs and defense. They want to maintain subsidies for farmers and tax breaks like the mortgage-interest deduction. And they’re against an increase in the gasoline tax.

Pain for thee, but not for me. The crazy part about this is that Ryan’s plan doesn’t really involve much in the way of extreme sacrifice for everyday citizens. No, if implemented, the pain would be felt primarily by politicians and bureaucrats as their power is slowly stripped away. What a shame that would be, right?

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