This should brighten your Hump Day: a note on "the moral implications of the budget debate" in the wake of Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal yesterday, from your friends, the editors of The New Republic. Sample:
A serious conversation about managing the federal budget is under way. And that's a good thing. Federal spending is growing faster than federal revenue. Absent changes in the law, future generations of Americans will likely have to raise taxes to unprecedented levels, dramatically reduce the reach of government programs, risk the macroeconomic consequences of uncontrolled debt, or some combination of all three. At best, these options are unappealing. At worst, they are a threat to prosperity.
But the fiscal conversation is unfolding in an unfortunate manner. For one thing, many in Washington seem to have lost sight of the fact that the economic recovery remains fragile and unemployment remains high. It is possible to believe that the deficit must eventually be addressed, while also believing that our present circumstances actually require deficit spending. […]
Deficits should be temporary, of course. Once the economy fully recovers, the government really should focus on reducing debt.
And so on. I liked it better in the original Los Angelese.
As we've argued here, Ryan's Roadmap 2.0 was a nice throat-clearer, if a bit undersized, lacking in courage on defense and other big issues, and tethered to some lousy numbers. He is moving closer to the R side of the ledger in the "radical or sellout" question, and it's clear when weighed against President Barack Obama's truly disgraceful budget proposal, there is only one Party Number-Cruncher in Chief even pretending to be serious about the ugly business at hand.
Judging by TNR and the liberal commentariat, this will continue to be a one-sided debate. We're spending too much money, kids, and we absolutely positively need to spend less, while changing the formulas for future outlays. Until the left half of the American political brain allows that truism to permeate its skull in a no-buts-about-it kinda way, either we're screwed, they're screwed, or both.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention the headline on this piece of "serious conversation": "Share the Wealth."