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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Fantastical Non-Sequiturs of Politics


I use Rep. Ryan budget and his words as an example, but others abound:

Yet the most important question isn't how we balance the budget. It's why. A budget is a means to an end, and the end isn't a neat and tidy spreadsheet. It's the well-being of all Americans. By giving families stability and protecting them from tax hikes, our budget will promote a healthier economy and help create jobs. Most important, our budget will reignite the American Dream, the idea that anyone can make it in this country.

The summation is the escape from numbers and quantities to pure imagination:  the well-being of all Americans, protection from tax hikes, create jobs, reignite the American dream.

All good things, no doubt, but there is no logic binding them to the budget. There is self interest and emotion, but no logic.
Has any budget ever been one that sought the well-being of all Americans?!
Wouldn't it be more truthful to say that most budgets sought the well-being of certain groups, and - at best - did not do irreparable damage to other Americans outside those focus groups?

We are not cynical..., but we have come a long way from the Civics class films of "How a Bill Becomes a Law". The animated scroll of paper representing a bill dancing up the Capitol steps has transformed into a ripped and dirty piece of scrap paper smoking a cigarette and taking drinks from a brown paper bag in an alley behind Pennsylvania Avenue, and this is hardly due to our cynicism; we did not degrade the process of budgets. Nor, come to think of it, did we degrade the process of war and intel and due process... but, they have degraded, and we look on with a distaste that is called cynicism.


Anyone can make it in this country? There is evidence pro and con.
It is a fine article of faith and belief, which is where the summations of arguments always land us: the appeal to the illogical which is the only thing that motivates us to action.

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