Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I first read about it in a hysterical-sounding Harper's article. Now I'm reading about it in Krugman's column. And he's citing the respected Financial Times. So maybe it's time to believe.

The Harper's article accused the Bush administration of a diabolical sabotage: enact tax cuts that current spending levels can't handle, and use the ensuing fiscal crisis to dismantle the Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security programs that are antithesis to the hard-line conservative agenda. Pah! I thought. They just want to put through tax cuts because that's what Republicans do! They would never do something as politically risky as sabotage this social programs that are wildly popular, especially among the pivotal senior demographic.

Ah. But what if a fiscal crisis forces their hand? What if they have no choice? And what if they can rely on the fact that the majority of the populace won't put two and two together to figure out that it was this very administration's tax cuts that caused the crisis? Or as the Financial Times puts it:
..."more extreme Republicans" actually want a fiscal train wreck: "Proposing to slash federal spending, particularly on social programs, is a tricky electoral proposition, but a fiscal crisis offers the tantalizing prospect of forcing such cuts through the back door."

Krugman's closer:
How can this be happening? Most people, even most liberals, are complacent. They don't realize how dire the fiscal outlook really is, and they don't read what the ideologues write. They imagine that the Bush administration, like the Reagan administration, will modify our system only at the edges, that it won't destroy the social safety net built up over the past 70 years.

That's exactly what I imagined, but perhaps it's time to start thinking more critically. Three guesses as to who would benefit from this agenda, and who would be left out naked in the snow.


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