No one likes paying taxes; certainly I don't. Naturally, I want the other guy to pay more first -- cutting subsidies to the oil industry, for example, seems like a gimme putt to me. On the other hand, my (flat rate) Illinois income tax went up this year by 2¢ on the dollar. There are any number of forces pushing me over the financial cliff at present -- but that tax increase is way down on the list. The Republicans are irresponsible for refusing to consider even the most minor tweaks on the revenue side.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are wimps. Wimps as in Wimpy, the character from Popeye, who was constantly trying to borrow money for hamburgers.
Oh, the Democrats say they want "historic" cuts -- but the Republicans counter that the Democrats are long on rhetoric and short on specifics.
While I'm inclined to disbelieve anything that issues from a politician's lips, just on principle, I can't help but think that there may be more than a particle of truth in this one.
Therefore, I hereby take it upon myself to offer some sure-fire cost-cutting measures: End the wars. End all the wars. To wit:
- The War in Iraq;
- The War in Afghanistan;
- The War in Libya (yes it is a war, Mr. President);
- The War on Terror;
- The War on Drugs; and
- The War on Poverty.
Wars are fought against nations. Take the enemy's capital; accept the surrender of the surviving members of the belligerent's government and go home. The American military can win real wars. Occupation, however, is fraught with peril. Yes, it worked in Germany and Japan. It did not work in Iraq (though the surge reversed matters, hopefully for long enough to cover our withdrawal). It has not worked in Afghanistan (the Taliban is resurgent -- and counting the days until we march out of there, too).
And "wars" against concepts make even less sense. To win our "war" on terror, we make 95-year old women remove their diapers. We have set up mini-despots at every departure terminal, empowered to grab the crotches of any persons they choose. We have enriched murderous criminals in Mexico and Columbia in our hypocritical "war" on drugs. Hypocritical, you ask? Well, our last three Presidents have all admitted drug use of one kind or another at some time in their lives (although Mr. Clinton insisted he didn't inhale). Exactly how committed can we be to eradicating this "scourge" that people at all levels of society, including the most powerful and best-educated, use regularly? And poor people have subsidized cell phones now, but gangs, gang violence, and endemic crime persist in our inner cities. So much for our "war" on poverty.
Balance the budget? End the wars. All of them.