[FoRK] Then there's this...

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Fri Feb 27 19:37:17 PST 2009

On Feb 27, 2009, at 6:54 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
> There are plenty who would decimate the military.

Most of the defense budget is not particularly discretionary (things  
like veterans benefits and similar).  The parts that people tend to  
obsess about like new weapon systems are a pretty trivial portion of  
that budget, and in some cases badly needed (like a replacement for  
the F-15).

> What else could really be cut?  Education? (That's the most crazy.)

How so?  The US burns far more money on education than the rest of the  
industrialized world and gets mediocre results for it.  It sounds like  
a perfect place for a cut.  Since by any reasonable measure the  
Europeans actually get better results for far less money, maybe we  
should copy one of the things they arguably do better.

But it doesn't matter, since the Federal government only controls 10%  
of the education budget.

> R&D?  (Next on the crazy list.)

I agree, but slashing R&D appears to be the current de facto policy,  
grandstanding aside.  Privately funded R&D dwarfs publicly funded R&D  
in the US, so granting meager increases in publicly funded R&D while  
effectively savaging private sector R&D is a net loss.

>  Social security / Medicaid?  (What lobby group is more diffuse and  
> more powerful than everyone's parents, plus everyone over 40?)

This is why the whole exercise is a joke.  Nobody is even pretending  
to fix the serious problems.  People are being forced to rearrange the  
deck chairs on the Titanic when they were quite happy sitting where  
they were.

> Let's call that the "Regulator's Dilemma".  Those that tried to  
> sound the alarm seem to have been replaced quickly with proper yes  
> men when they weren't just ignored.

I'll bet you have a perfectly reasonable explanation for why Mary  
Schapiro was just appointed the head of the SEC.

J. Andrew Rogers

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