The conventional wisdom has emerged that in order to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," politicians in Washington must agree to some method of tax increases ("revenue") -- which will be real, even if low taxes are not the cause of our ills -- alongside some kind of promise of spending restraint on entitlement programs, which is our problem, and which no one believes Washington will restrain.
The American left and our "objective" journalists -- same thing, I know -- are not helping the nation balance its budget. As usual, these partisan hacks are obsessed with tearing the Republican coalition apart, limb from limb. By empowering the GOP moderates, they drive the conservatives into exile. These liberals are dishonest but not dumb. They have no intention of honoring a pledge to curtail wasteful spending. What they want is GOP civil war.
Bruce Bawer on universities and why the American miracle is fading into the mists of history:
Some of the parents just don't realize how much things have changed since they were students. Indeed, some of them are so young that they, too, were students under the current dispensation—and they think this is what humanities education is. And so they instruct their children to avoid the humanities as much as they can and to concentrate on "practical" courses that will lead directly to profitable careers. As a result of which their kids never acquire a real liberal education—and thereby risk the danger of never truly understanding, among other things, what it means to be an American. And with every kid who emerges from college possessing a diploma—and an idea of America derived not from the values of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution but from the preaching of identity studies—the American miracle fades a bit more into the mists of history.
"The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of." ~ C. S. Lewis
"Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other." -- John Locke
Washington's Phantom Austerity > Fiscal Cliff negotiators will means-test everything except government.
So Republicans want to means-test entitlements and maybe some tax deductions, and Democrats want to effectively means-test taxes. Where does that leave those of us who would prefer instead to at long last means-test government?
Screwed, is the short answer. Americans of every income group will likely take home less of their pay, an arrangement that will probably be significant enough to push the fragile economy into a double-dip recession, but too small to meaningfully close the deficit. Washington's chronic short-term crisis-budgeting—with its annual "patches," squandered oversight, and studious entitlement-avoidance—will likely become a permanent feature of Obama's presidency.
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