What kind of suckers do they take us for, the handful of presidential candidates still standing after hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the mind-numbing winnowing process?
How gullible do they think we are, conditioned though we may be these days to take for gospel anything forwarded endlessly in e-mails, or tweeted, or sound-bited on all the TV shows that masquerade as news but are really just more entertainment?
All the high-flown rhetoric, all the trust-me-would-I-lie-to-you promises, all the smoke and mirrors — hey, we’ve been this route before? Over and over.
And underlying all the hokum and showbiz macho grandstanding are two questions they conveniently don’t answer: How you gonna pay for it? Who’s gonna be hurt in the process?
A free college tuition for everyone? Oh my! Wonderful! But at what cost? Show us the money to pay for it.
Tax cuts? Well, yeah, who wouldn’t like that? But where will the Treasury get the money to make up for the reduced tax inflow? And hate to bring it up, but tax cuts invariably seem to disproportionately favor hedge fund barons and others of the very wealthy set. Oh, but it trickles down, right?
Balance the budget, and cut taxes, and maintain government services, and spend more on defense? Sure, sounds great. But how’d that work out for Reagan, who racked up eight years of deficits and tripled the national debt? Or his successor’s tax cuts combined with a spending spree on a multi-trillion dollar Iraq war? Or the massive spending over the nearly eight years of the current president’s tenure? We’ve pretty much demonstrated that tax cuts simply reduce revenues to the Treasury, but do zilch to reduce government debt.
Get rid of government waste and fraud? Scuttle the EPA and other government agencies? Umm, sure, count us in for that. Immaterial that their total cost is but spit in the ocean in terms of what’s needed to balance the continually bloating federal budget.
Where is the politician with the guts to say: People, let’s be real. We can’t have it all. Digging out of this mess will take sacrifice and dedication to the task.
Alas, apparently not in the current crop of pie-in-the-sky aspirants.