Showing posts from May, 2009

spare change we can believe in: the case for a VAT

So much economic hand-wringing , yet all its good for is to reiterate the same tired stale posturing from liberals and conservatives alike. Here's the basic problem. 1. Domestic spending can't go down. It's a fantasy to imagine that even draconian cuts would be tolerable or politically viable. Like it or not, Americans want their social services and safety nets. All the conservative handwringing about Socialism is a Red herring, pun intended. Anyway discretionary spending (non defense, non medicare, non social sec) is a tiny fraction of the overall budget anyway so theres very little to cut; American services are actually an incredible bang for the buck, especially compared to European counterparts. 2. Defense spending can't be cut. The world is a bad place. We have to spend a lot of money in a lot of places for basic reasons of security and global policy. Isolationism doesnt work; 9-11 proved that. Bottom line: we need resources to deal with the crap out there and that