The truth is that both the president and House Republicans have agreed to shrink a critical part of the government to its smallest in at least half a century. This is regardless of which trillion-dollar proposal gains the upper hand. Without such spending, the government becomes little more than a heavily armed pension plan with a health insurer on the side. To put it in perspective, this would cut the government’s civilian discretionary budget to the smallest it has been as a share of the economy at least since the Eisenhower administration — when a quarter of the population lived under the poverty line, thousands of children still contracted polio each year and fewer than one in 12 Americans older than 25 had a college degree. According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, even going over the so-called fiscal cliff would not cut it as deeply. We’ve had this debate several times before. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was based on the proposition that government should play a much bigger role to guarantee Americans’ economic security. In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson asserted the government’s responsibility to alleviate the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Three decades ago, President Ronald Reagan changed course, ushering in an era of government retrenchment that persisted pretty much unabated until we were walloped by the Great Recession.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Mercifully, at least there's no more pain when you cease to exist altogether after years of fighting the inevitable decrepitude, right? NYTimes: