The Abstract and the Concrete

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity:

This chart basically shows that Republicans are really no different than the mainstream when it comes to specific spending cuts (which, incidentally, is why Rep. Ryan’s budget is a joke). Now, it is true that Republicans are more supportive of spending cuts in general. However, once you start discussing specifics, Republicans are just like everyone else when it comes to spending.

I think the reason for this is simply the difference between the concrete and the abstract. In the abstract, everyone is for cutting spending. Pretty much everyone knows that running trillions of dollars in deficits year after year is unhealthy and unsustainable. We all know this. Yet, when it comes to specific areas in which we should cut spending, suddenly no one seems able to find it in their heart of hearts to actually make cuts. We “need” Medicare, we “need” welfare, we “need” to spend hundreds of billions on the military, we “need” the arts, and so on. There’s nothing we can bring ourselves to part with because it’s all so important.

Really, this is nothing more than the rationalization hamster writ large. We want what we want, and we will always find a way to rationalize it, even when we know that it’s detrimental.

Thus, we are powerless to prevent the systemic breakdown that will eventually occur once it becomes impossible to pay off the federal debt. There will be an unavoidable tightening of the fiscal belt, and it will be painful. Collapse will accompany it. The sad thing is, the collapse was not only predictable, but avoidable as well. The reason why the collapse is unavoidable, though, is simply due to the difference between practicing and preaching. There are many bloggers who keep harping on the dangers of fiscal irresponsibility, yet their warnings continue to go unheeded. And so, the collapse will eventually occur, not because no one was warned, but because no one had the spine to do what was necessary to avoid it. Thus, all the warnings of disaster are in vain.

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