Monday, February 25, 2013

The Washington Monument Syndrome

I think that its worth noting one of the strategies used to argue against balancing the budget by cutting spending.

First let's note two recent Althouse posts:

Dead baby mice to be dropped, one by one, by hand, from U.S. military helicopters in Guam.
"U.S. government scientists have been perfecting the mice-drop strategy for more than a decade with support from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior."

"In the military they have $5.2 million they spent on goldfish — studying goldfish to see how democratic they were..."

We can all see that these two programs are stupid and we can cut that spending.

However when someone proposes cutting spending what we hear from our president, and others, is that cutting any sort of spending will result in firing teachers.

from the most recent State of the Union address:
In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year.  These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.  They’d devastate priorities like education, and energy, and medical research.  They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.  That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea. 
We have a tremendous deficit and are nearing cutting something like 3% with the sequester.  We are set to cut 3% and the president says that that would devastate education.

This is known as the Washington Monument Syndrome.

Responsible person: "We need to cut some from your budget."

Government employee: "We obviously can't not redecorate our offices this year. (implied) We'll need to close the Washington Monument, Yellowstone Park, and fire lots of firemen and teachers."

Take note next time you listen to your cities' or states' budget talks.  Some politicians will call for spending cuts.  And others will claim that that can only mean that they will need to fire policemen and teachers.  They will say that there is no other way to reduce spending.

Now you know the name for this: The Washington Monument Syndrome.

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