Programs To Cut

How about Head Start?

I know that discussing the elimination of a government program is heresy, and that all government programs once initiated become sacrosanct, and the only permissible discussion about them is the budget level, but I just find it amazing that, given our fiscal straits, we aren’t having a serious discussion about a) what should the federal government be doing, b) even if the goals of the program are constitutionally legit, is it doing them in the most cost-effective way possible? We should be talking about eliminating programs entirely, and not just arguing about how much money we should be wasting on them. Planned Parenthood and CPB/NPR are obvious examples, particularly given the results of recent stings, but even those run by people who are well intentioned, and not duplicitous, should on the block as well, if they’re not federal responsibilities, or if they are not effective. When our monthly deficit is larger than any of George Bush’s annual ones, it’s time to get serious.

By the way, this principle would apply to NASA as well. Certainly SLS/Orion are prime candidates for elimination, and the only thing keeping them alive is their constituencies for the pork.

[Update a few minutes later]

The Democrats’ dull budget scissors.

Traffic Jams

the science.

This had me scratching my head, though. It lists the top ten most congested highways (not sure how they measure that), and I found a couple of surprises.

First, that none of them were in southern California. I would have thought that the 405 through West LA and over Sepulveda Pass into the Valley would have been a prime candidate.

Second, that they list the merge between northbound US-23 and northbound I-75, in Detroit. Only one problem. Those two highways merge in Flint, sixty miles northwest of Detroit (and my home town). And while I haven’t spent much time there lately, I have been there some, and I’m quite surprised that it beats all of the Detroit freeways for congestion. The only time I can imagine it would be a big problem is on holiday weekends with people coming from the Detroit area heading up north. Even then, it can be avoided by taking I-475 through town. I’d like to know how it got so designated. It makes me question the validity of the rest of them as well.

Dispatch From The Bizarro World

of Democrats:

Thanks to this bill — which doesn’t touch any of the civil service protections afforded public workers, nor any private-sector unions — public sector workers will have a choice over whether to join a union. Thanks to this bill, public workers who elect not to join a union won’t be forced to pay dues anyway. Thanks to this bill, elected officials won’t be negotiating away taxpayer dollars with the people who finance their campaigns. So, naturally, the Democrats call it the the undoing of fifty years of “civil rights.”

Naturally.

Cheer Up

The world’s biggest bond fund is dumping US debt:

You may think the Ryan Roadmap looks harsh and disruptive. But we simply must start dealing with these things right now, while we have some resources, some options, and some time. It will be much more harsh and disruptive to try to deal with these things after the fiscal crisis is upon us, when inflation is skyrocketing, unemployment is through the roof, and the markets start demanding a very high premium to finance the debt of Washington, the states, and the cities, if indeed investors are willing to do so at all.

We are in an extraordinarily dangerous period, one that calls for real leadership in Washington, where the geniuses in charge are currently locked in a death struggle over whether to cut nothing or next to nothing.

NPR? Foreign aid? Food stamps? That isn’t going to do it. The fact that we’re even having a discussion about whether we have to federally subsidize experimental opera companies in Topeka suggests that the message has not quite hit home. Maybe when the Social Security checks stop coming, Americans will notice. Which is to say, when it’s too late.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

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