If you want to get some folks really upset, mention health care and earmarks. But how big are these problems, actually?
Take earmarks or pork barrel spending. Many of them are outlandishly stupid and obviously squander the taxpayers’ dollars, but some of them actually meet needs in lawmakers’ communities. They account for a small fraction of federal outlays. Their elimination would never come close to balancing the federal budget.
Then there’s health care. Exit polls from the recent midterms indicated that 48% said the overhaul should be repealed. But nearly as many -- 47% -- said it should either be expanded or kept the way it is. Obviously a politically divisive issue, even though most of us have not really felt any impact in the changes that were legislated.
Earmarks and health care get the adrenalin pumping for many voters, but the biggest issue is still the stagnant economy and the lingering high unemployment rate. That’s a problem impossible to solve with demonstrations or angry talk.
Our thought for today is from John W. Gardner:
“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”