Sunday, January 9, 2011

You probably need a bigger circle of friends...

Its quite common to hear within Republican/Conservative circles I am around that "everyone" they know is calling for spending cuts and smaller government.  If people truly wanted smaller government they would have created it a long time ago.
Matthew Yglesias summed it up nicely... 
 if spending cuts—meaning actual, concrete cutting of specific programs as opposed to vague talk about “spending cuts”—are popular, then what’s the explanation for why they’re so rare?
The reality is that government spending spans a wide spectrum of services (military protection, social security, keeping the lights on in the halls of Congress).  Everyone can find a program they think should "obviously be cut", and often "most the people I know" agree with those cuts because human beings tend to travel in circles with those of like mind (or those who keep there mouth shut out of politeness).
One of my least popular threads on the campaign trail during my state senate race was
each and every one of us in this room can find some government program or service that obviously needs to be cut.  I can stand here in front of you and say that we have to cut that program.  We can all shake our heads and nod and the obviousness of this.  But if I can't go up to the Gold Dome and find the votes needed to cut those programs its not because of some massive conspiracy, or because politicians aren't listening to you.  Its because we can't get the votes.  That's not a conspiracy, or bad government, thats Democracy.
The reality is small government (whatever that means), and actually spending cuts, aren't popular, or they would have been achieved a long time ago.
Dig into discussions of those around you about what "good government" is and you'll find lists of programs they don't want to cut.  If its obvious that people think we need to cut government spending and politicians just aren't listening to us... then you probably need a bigger circle of friends as you are a bit confused about how clear cut the issue of government spending is.

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