Monday, February 23, 2009

Rejecting the Stimulus?

I am opposed to the social security system as it is currently configured. If I had been alive in the 1930's, I would have voted against it. If it were up to me, the system would not now be eliminated, but it would be drastically changed. I believe that it will bankrupt the country.

When I arrive at that age, if it is still around, I plan to collect the benefits.

Does that make me a hypocrite? I don't think so. As a nation, we have debates on public policy. At the end of those debates, we have winners and losers as the nation decides what direction it will go. What the nation decides, the nation pays for (or its children and grandchildren do), and policies, structures, and benefits are created. We decided on social security. However I might wish we had decided otherwise, I am compelled to help pay for it, and perhaps I will collect something for the trouble.

All of which brings me to the enormous federal spending package that just passed in Congress under the guise of a stimulus program. Nearly every Republican in Congress voted against it, and many Republican governors are highly critical of it. Now, some are suggesting that Republican governors accepting funds are inconsistent.

That is not so. Republicans rightly voted against the legislation. Even those who acknowledge that deficit spending is needed to re-charge the economy can see that this package does not really accomplish that. However, the nation's representatives voted, and we lost. There is no inconsistency in acknowledging the policy choice that won and accepting both the costs and the benefits of that decision.

Except for when it creates unfunded mandates down the road, the governors are right to take the money.


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