November 14, 2010

PETER WEHNER: Who’s serious about the debt?

It is simply not tenable for public officials to portray themselves as courageous voices for fiscal sanity while simultaneously fencing off cuts and reforms for entitlements. This doesn’t argue for recklessness or doing everything all at once. And it certainly doesn’t mean promoting austerity at the expense of pro-growth economic policies. But it does mean one should not declare entitlement programs off-limits. We have to deal with them; there’s no way around it. So there’s no point in making things more difficult or making commitments that are contrary to the national interest. Those who do open themselves to the charge that they are fundamentally unserious on this matter.

For the most part, they’ll be as serious as they’re forced to be.

And entitlement programs shouldn’t be off-limits, they should be at the top of the list. On the other hand, don’t underestimate the importance of earmarks. They’re the gateway drug of corruption and overspending.

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