Sunday, August 28, 2011
Accountants vs Philosophers?
Nancy Pelosi Pelosi stated that cuts to seniors' benefits are "absolutely" off the table in the ongoing deficit reduction negotiations, yet entitlement spending compose 57% of the budget and face serious unfunded liabilities. A philosophically oriented commentator may defend the status quo of entitlements, whereas those who look at the issue with the eyes of an accountant see that there is no way to balance the budget without substantially reforming entitlements. This clash of visions is seen in a host of other debates. For example, Luis Gutierrez (D - IL) and other members of the Congressional Hispanic held out support for Obamacare, because undocumented immigrants were not eligible for the full array of federal subsidies. While their position that "all residents, documented or otherwise, have a right to government funded health care," may be philosophically sound, it completely ignores the fiscal reality that the United States faces. An astute accountant might respond "of course we can grant free health care to everyone, but given our level of debt, what other programs are you willing to cut to make it possible?"