Monday, August 22, 2011

"Can't be...won't be..."

Glenn Reynolds:
Debts that cannot be paid, won’t be. Commitments that cannot be honored, won’t be. Guarantees that can’t be followed through on, won’t be.
It cannot be said often enough. If there's not enough money to pay for everything, something won't get paid. There is no "money tree" on which grows the wealth that will pay for the public union pensions and health care, for Social Security and Medicare. When the money runs out, which it will if the spending trajectories aren't changed, people aren't going to get paid, regardless of what commitments have been made, regardless of what obligations have been agreed to.

In his excellent Economics course for the Teaching Company (which I cannot recommend highly enough), Professor Timothy Taylor, in the first lecture, describes economists as "people who insist on taking trade-offs seriously." When I look at the world, and, in particular, at the points of view of all of my "progressive" friends, what I see is a refusal to even recognize many of the trade-offs that they want to make. In their utopian view, you can have high minimum wages, high spending on education, and welfare, health care for everyone, social security and medicare, strong unions and still have a thriving, active, high growth private sector economy to fund all of it. You can have stringent environmental laws to the point where you even regulate the carbon dioxide that we all exhale, you can outlaw nuclear power and coal-burning and imported oil and still have hospitals and lights and ambulances. You can promote multi-culturalism, sexual promiscuity, gay marriage, tax incentives that discourage men from marrying and supporting children, disparage American culture and capitalism, and still have a stable, wealthy and productive civil society.

Well, the world does not work that way.

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