Is it politically possible to choose deep cuts in popular programs?

A White House commission on reducing the deficit has issued a draft proposal that calls for widely shared sacrifice. Today’s Question: Is it politically possible to choose deep cuts in popular programs?

  • Cheryl

    probably not, however, if we don’t nothing will be accomplished. I thought the suggestions were well thought out and most need to be done to balance the budget. Does anyone else have better ideas?

    I don’t think politicians do what the people want now. They might as well do something good for everyone for a change, even though painful, rather then spending the majority of their time arguing with each other and calling for re-counts when the election doesn’t go their way.

  • Duane

    Probably not until default becomes the only other option. California, along with several other states, are close to that now. Fiscal discipline is necessary to address this problem, a position that seemed to be overlooked by many in this past election. There is one other solution that should be considered and that is to improve the tax revenue, including FICA tax, by fostering a better business climate. The longer we wait to address the problem the deep and more painful the cuts will be.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Possible, but unlikely. We’re a nation of spoiled brats. We throw tantrums in the voting booth whenever politicians try either to cut our benefits or tax us to pay for someone else’s benefits. As a campaign slogan, “Shared sacrifice for the common good” is a guaranteed loser.

  • Clark

    I agree possible but not likely. First get rid of pelosi as she is out of touch with most voters and has a terrible relationship with republicans so try someone anyone new. I don’t mind paying a higher tax rate that is reasonable but cuts in programs must be part of the equation. When over half the wage earners pay no federal income tax, we have become a nation of wagon riders. This will be a real test for obama to see if he is a leader of the country or a leader of the blood sucking unions.

  • Lou

    Not under our current system where politicians top priority is to get reelected. If we had some type of system where congressmen and women could not succeed themselves in congress, perhaps they could vote on issues that would be best for the nation as opposed to what is best for their political careers. But it would be these same elected officials that would have to implement these congressional limits so we may rest assured that it will not happen.

  • Sue de Nim

    The current polarized political atmosphere further reduces the likelihood of the kind of compromise included in that aforementioned draft proposal. Politicians who don’t pander to their base and demonize the other side are left out to dry, like the moderate Republicans who lost in the primaries, or President Obama who, by steering a moderate course, has lost support from progressives, even while the extreme right wing called him a marxist.

  • HIram

    Sure, Republicans are about to do that in the next session of the legislature. What remains to be seen is whether they can survive making politically unpopular cuts.

  • http://homeblogde.blogspot.com/ David Rogde

    Yes. Cuts will begin as they always have, starting with those who have no lobbyists to represent their interests, and have virtually little or no economic power. Pain is distributed from the bottom up, strangely different than Europe, and more like China.

  • bsimon

    Sometimes, but it requires political leadership from across the ideological spectrum to set aside partisanship in favor of solving problems.

  • Philip

    Only the kind you bring across your throat.

  • Steve

    i guess anything is possible with this govt but if they are listening to folks probably not because volumes with people equates succcess!

  • Matt A

    I highly doubt it.

  • bob

    My understanding is that the commission called for a shift of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest segment of our society. For example, it suggests ending the mortgage deduction and reducing the highest marginal income tax rates. If this is the commission’s idea of shared sacrifice, God help us.

  • Tony

    I don’t think so. While there may be some politicians who would propose deep cuts in popular programs, there are very few voters who would consent to those cuts.

    I think overall many of the comments on this have it right; as a nation we want lots of services as long as we don’t have to pay for them.

    A number of years ago it was said of our nation’s youth that, for them, instant gratification takes too long. The youth from back then is today’s grown-up voters.

  • Donna

    No, it’s hard to cut programs like social security when rich people are still getting a tax cut, when big business isn’t paying it’s fair share, when big oil isn’t paying it’s fair share, and when exec’s are getting 25 times the salary of the worker.

  • Fritzie Borgwardt

    The only way I can think to describe our economic problem is to try to make it simple.

    Suppose there is a pie that needs to feed us all, and we make it and bake it.

    The government pays the electricity bill to heat the oven, and makes sure nothing goes dreadfully wrong.

    Suppose one person wants all the pie they can eat. (and some do) Don’t we want to give them an incentive to restrain themselves at all? Shouldn’t they pay more of the electricty bill? If they eat more, they pay more? Why would their percentage of the electricty bill ever be less?

    We are in a situation where there is not enough pie. In fact, we owe China pie. Who really needs to make the tough choices?

  • Fritzie Borgwardt

    The only way I can think to describe our economic problem is to try to make it simple.

    Suppose there is a pie that needs to feed us all, and we make it and bake it.

    The government pays the electricity bill to heat the oven, and makes sure nothing goes dreadfully wrong.

    Suppose one person wants all the pie they can eat. (and some do) Don’t we want to give them an incentive to restrain themselves at all? Shouldn’t they pay more of the electricty bill? If they eat more, they pay more? Why would their percentage of the electricty bill ever be less?

    We are in a situation where there is not enough pie. In fact, we owe China pie. Who really needs to make the tough choices?

  • Fritzie Borgwardt

    Americans need a better understanding of what is really happening for anything good to be politically possible.

  • marc h

    No, because there will be too much obfuscation. There will never be a consensus because both sides will see too much opportunity to score short-term political gains through demagoguery. I mean, right now you have so-called conservatives campaigning on making sure that people get every penny of Social Security they have coming to them. Demagoguery, in short, is what you will get. So people will not be able to understand the options clearly, nor will they see any reason to trust either side to do so fairly.

  • Laurie

    It could be possible if our newly elected Republican majority is ready to put their money where their mouth is. Both parties need to compromise with a combination of cuts and tax increases. Shared sacrifice is key!

  • Barbara

    Anything is politically possible. Poorly worded question. The only thing certain in life is death and taxes, and we will certainly be taxed to death.

  • Dan

    I’m a cynic. I’ve been on both sides and in the middle and “who cares”. I’ve held a job for 48 years and have wonderful grand children. Look to yourself. When did you last say,”you might be right. We could try it your way, at least a little bit.”? Being louder and ” more enlighten is our right”, don’t you agree. It ain’t going to happen. Just look around. Don’t you see how everyone one but you and I are out of step ?

  • Jamie Kaiser

    I think this is where term limits would come in handy. If politicians were forced to “retire” they could at least use their last term to make the hard decisions that might have otherwise hurt their career.

  • Ron

    They’ve been dancing around this question all my life. I almost don’t care what they do anymore, I wish the cowards would just do something and get it over with. If it’s wrong, then scrap it and start over but for God’s sake do something!

  • Jason

    Who cares? Shouldn’t our elected officials be doing what is right according to their knowledge on the subject? I thought that’s why we elected people…to learn about things we common folk aren’t experts at…then make the best decisions. This 24 hour political popularity contest makes our intelligent elected officials cater to a bunch of idiots…US! (Of course I don’t think the general population are idiots, but when it comes to many of the issues we are…and I include myself)

    My suggestion…. VOTE….then let them do their jobs.