Victor Davis Hanson, "Patient Obama:"
The electorate is not as it was when it finally sickened of Jimmy Carter in August 1980. Far more are on public assistance, unemployment, Social Security, food stamps, etc., or work for thousands of new state and federal bureaus. There are millions more illegal aliens that have become citizens since the late 1970s. And the voting rolls have expanded exponentially among “nontraditional” voters. Thus, the political calculus about which pundits and talking-heads debate is not always what half the electorate worries about. The national debt, the annual deficit, the problems with ObamaCare, the tax code — all that matters very little. The key question for millions of voters in 2012 will be simply who ensures that my check arrives unchanged or augmented, and who either stops or reduces it.And so my question again: do the American people actually have the spine to support making the cuts that have to be made to save the country from collapse?
There is no shortage of voters who say they want the federal budget cut and the size of government reduced. What they (okay, we) really mean is, "I want the federal programs and agencies that benefit me to stay intact and the ones that benefit someone else to be slashed like it's Halloween night in a horror movie."The answer is no. Just.Plain.No.
The reason is, I think, that we voters ideologically approve cutting the budget but operationally don't want it done on our own backs. My parents are in their 80s. Do I really want Medicare to be cut? Baby boomers, of whom I am one, are just starting to retire in large numbers. Guess what's going to happen to Social Security spending? Do we really want those payouts slashed just as we're starting to draw them?
Including government employees, more than 88 million Americans are personally dependent to some degree on government payouts. That's 29 percent of us. Do you really think it is politically possible for even a veto-proof Republican Congress to slash those programs, jobs or benefits enough to make a meaningful dent in the trillion-dollar-plus deficit?
WSJ and NBC found in a survey that nobody wants to touch Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are what is breaking the federal bank, all by themselves. And they are exactly what Americans won't support cutting as substantially as necessary, once individualk Americans find out what it means to them, personally.
Hysterically, even Tea Partiers oppose cutting Social Security by a 2-1 margin.
There is some support for increasing the retirement age to 69... by the year 2075.
Update: "Americans Oppose Entitlement Cuts, Support Raising Taxes On 'The Rich'"
WASHINGTON — Alarmed by rising national debt and increasingly downbeat about their country’s course, Americans are clear about how they want to attack the government’s runway budget deficits: raise taxes on the wealthy and keep hands off of Medicare and Medicaid.
At the same time, they say that the government should not raise the legal debt ceiling, which the government must do soon to borrow more money, despite warnings that failing to do so would force the government into default, credit markets into turmoil and the economy into a tailspin.