Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Avoiding tough choices

Victor Davis Hanson writes about how we keep on avoiding making tough choices.,

In the case of big-city murdering, serious talk about the culture of gangs and the causes of the pathology of thousands of minority males, who are vastly overrepresented as both victims and perpetrators of gun violence, is a no-win proposition, given the politically correct climate and the existential issues involved. Can one imagine any politician decrying the violent lyrics of rap music, the culture of dependency on government, or the absence of stiff incarceration for the use of a gun during a crime with the same zeal that he has shown in going after the NRA?

But, what about the debt and spending crises?

After all the fighting over the fiscal cliff, and all the demagoguery over the rich paying their fair share, we have achieved almost nothing tangible in terms of reducing the debt. The president offered no budget freeze, no curtailment of entitlement costs, no adjustments in age or other conditions of eligibility — nothing at all that would have addressed the astronomical rate at which the government has been spending since 2009. Obama is therapist-in-chief, and he avoids any tragic admission that there are sometimes just a bad choice and a worse one — in this case, between cutting back and going broke.

In other words, we taxed the 1 percent more, felt great about it, declared success, and now still face financial Armageddon — terrified to tell the 99 percent that either their taxes must go way up, or their entitlements must go way down, or more likely both. What we have failed to do would solve the problem and cause a national outcry; what we have actually done is as widely popular as it will do nothing.

But, what about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Keeping small residual forces in Iraq and Afghanistan might well have allowed the provisional consensual governments in those two countries to remain viable and not be transmogrified into tyrannies. To do so might have ensured that the terrible cost in American blood and treasure over the last decade at least had offered Afghans and Iraqis — and the world — something better than the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. Yet to keep small bases there would also have angered American voters, sick of both wars and of the seeming ingratitude of those we did so much to help.

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