Consider just this small list from The New York Times:
“Christine Owens, the executive director of the National Employment Law Project, called the proposed cuts to the Labor Department a ‘draconian’ budget that ‘is virtually a complete breach of faith with America’s workers.’ Amnesty International called the cuts to foreign aid ‘shameful’ and predicted ‘global consequences.’ The Union of Concerned Scientists said cuts to scientific programs were ‘antiquated ideas and misguided science, which will hurt our economy, kill jobs, make us less safe.’
“The American Library Association said that eliminating federal funds for libraries was ‘counterproductive and shortsighted.’ Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said, ‘This budget takes a meat cleaver to public education.’ ”
This is the traditional guns vs. butter debate. Unfortunately, we take the guns for granted and have started liking the butter — and demanding more of it all the time. The last time a Republican tried to make “draconian” cuts to the federal government, “Save Big Bird” became the rallying cry of federally funded entrenched interests. This time around it is apparently “Save Meals on Wheels.”
Once upon a time, policy planners asked sensible questions about proposals: 1. Is this something that should be done? 2. If so, should it be by the government or private sector? 3. If we give it to government, which level should it go to? 4. How will this be paid for and by whom? 5. How do we measure the effectiveness of our program? 6. How do we know when it’s time to end it?
Today, it is just assumed that if something is a good idea, then the federal government should do it, it doesn’t matter how much it costs, and it will never end.
That is insane.