A proposal released Wednesday by the bipartisan leaders of the commission suggested cuts to Social Security benefits, deep reductions in federal spending and higher taxes for millions of Americans to stem the flood of red ink that they say threatens the nation's very future. The popular child tax credit and mortgage interest deduction would be eliminated.
Such clear thinking is rare in Versailles-on-the-Potomac, which is precisely why these proposals won't be adopted until the bond market forces America into action. Cut the child tax credit? Joe Six-Pack will be mad that he's no longer being subsidized to bring more squealing mouths into the trailer park. Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction? No way will the homebuilders lobby tolerate that. Cancel Grandpa's Social Security and Medicare? Run that by the AARP and watch the TV ads scare the bejeezus out of everyone at the old folks' home.
Americans will react to this with a snore but that's okay because our rulers know us all too well. They'll print money until one day when annual inflation is at 25% and Grandma's Medicare Part D isn't enough to pay for her meds. When that day comes, we'll need a new enemy to distract us from our problems and provide a ready rationale for sacrifice.