What's for Dinner?

Friday, November 19, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Karol Markowicz

Did you hear? I fixed the budget crisis. I know, I know, I'm amazing. It was actually really easy. All I did was use the New York Times' nifty budget calculator and presto, we were out of our black hole of spending. I cut foreign aid in half, cut salaries for our returning troops and raised the retirement age to 70. I can't imagine this will bother or offend anybody. Surely all the people that rely on this money will understand that the government has been spending as if there is no tomorrow and they have to be the ones to pay for it.

I'm sure you can solve the budget crisis too. If you're conservative you'll look to chop spending. Which is great until you realize that "spending" means "paychecks" to a whole host of people—some of whom, like our military personnel, you may actually like. If you are of the liberal persuasion, a few easy ticks of the tax, tax, tax options and we're all set! So convenient to cut the amount of money someone gets to take home after they work for it.

Of course, the problem is that these cool ideas for solving our budget crisis have consequences. My way angers a lot of people, your way angers a lot of people. It's important to remember that with each tick of the box someone's life seriously changes. Yes, even those "rich" people who can be taxed on payroll, investments, estate, and consumption. Their decisions after all the taxes have been collected will affect us all. Don't believe in trickle down economics? Then you haven't been paying attention. It's not poor people who lost their shirts in the stock market, it was their bosses. Those same bosses had to tighten their belts, lay off employees, and cut salaries. It's not pretty and it's a real picture of what this recession has meant for us all. I keep meaning to buy a "Reagan was right" shirt.

So what to do? For one thing, our entire thinking on spending needs to change. It's easy, and politically expedient, to spend as if the good times will never end. The consequences, however, are disastrous. If you want to lose weight, the first rule you'll hear is that your life needs to change. A diet may work in the short-term, you can starve yourself for a few days and go down a size by the weekend, but real change only comes with a complete shift in lifestyle. This means no more federally funded Cowgirl Hall of Fames (there are, actually, two) and no more statues of the Roman God Vulcan, which cost you and me millions of dollars. No more pet projects like President Bush's ridiculous Medicare prescription drug bill or President Obama's unpopular and unfunded health care bill. No more hiring of federal employees for newly invented cabinets. No more taking over industries. The time for this nonsense is over. We can't gorge now and starve later. It is later and the American people are still hungry.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 BabyShe can be followed on Twitter.


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Comments [2]

I agree with Marcello. I think that WNYC should include voices from all parts of the political spectrum, but these should be thoughtful and articulate real ideas and not ideological talking points. Ms. Markowicz does not qualify on either count. Please replace her.

Nov. 22 2010 01:21 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

Is there anybody awake at WNYC? I understand the legitimate editorial need to include voices from the whole political and ideological spectrum but shouldn't the readers of these blog feeds be treated to a minimum of competence and common sense? Karol Markowicz's posts are as offensive and laughable as Sarah Palin's writing to the Wall Street Journal to lament the evils of Quantitative Easing. If we wanted to listen to lunacy we could all tune on Glenn Beck's latest broadcast. Why do these people even dare to open their mouths about budget deficits when they were created by eight years of conservative policies?
Why nobody is reminding Mrs. Markowicz that Bill Clinton left the White House with the first Budget Surplus in years and that it was turned by Bush into the greatest deficit in history? How do they even dare to show their faces when almost a decade of their rule was followed by the greatest economic crisis in eighty years? Cowgirls Hall of Fame? By all means, let's put an end to this and all the other pork that Congress feeds on. But if you want to talk about "unfunded programs" feel free to include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that, aside from being invented (Iraq) out of thin air, were kept off the books by the Bush Administration so they would not spoil its plans to deliver the tax cuts to its puppet masters.
Do not use however the word "unfunded" for the Obama Health Care Reform which is, in fact, the most serious attempt to contain long-term deficits. Since Karol used the NYT calculator she might have probably noticed that the biggest expense in the Federal budget is Medicare/Medicaid. Therefore, the most realistic approach to deficit containment is by reducing health care costs. The United States has the most inefficient system in the Western World with costs that are in average 25% higher than those of most of Western Europe and with millions of people uninsured or under-insured (more than 16% of the total population!!). Any attempt to fix the budget has to go through that.. Was it perfect? No! It was watered down! It would have been better with a public option. That would have showed how, in real a capitalistic style, if you employ full competition (allowing the Government to compete with private plans...) the entity that has to manage a system without having to generate profit on top of it, is mathematically less expensive than one that has to manage AND make a profit. So why do we have to listen to these people pontificate about deficits? And finally, what is the meaning of those links to the "newly invented cabinets" and to Government "taking over industries". They take you respectively to Wikipedia pages of the Dept. of Homeland Security and of the definition of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac's conservatorship.

Nov. 21 2010 11:11 PM

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