My wife and I are preparing to celebrate our eleventh anniversary, and I am racing about trying to finish preparations for a local youth sports event. Others in our democracy have a very different agenda this week. Some are waiting for the end of the world (this time, it is guaranteed to be May 21), others are doing their best version of Chicken Little…the budget sky is falling!
We do have a very large current deficit fueling an ever-growing national debt. Left unchecked, this fiscal situation could cripple our economy at least as effectively as the geniuses on Wall Street were able to accomplish during the first decade of this century. So, being the fiscally responsible, business-minded people that we are, we seek to control those aspects of our budget driving the deficits. Are the budget issues related to the diminished tax revenues that are characteristic of a recession? Are they by-products of the calamitous inflation in health care expenses? Could they be linked with the Bush tax cuts which, by definition, slashed tax revenues? Is there a connection with the ongoing wars in the Middle East?
If we are to believe the diagnosis of congressional Republicans and the so-called liberal mainstream media, the answer is none of the above. If we are to believe those beacons of fiscal responsibility and budget integrity, the real culprits are poor people, PBS, public school teachers, and food stamps.