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 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.