Friday, December 2, 2011

Republicans: Cut all the meat if you find any waste!

A typical Republican response to evidence of the value of government is, yeah, and what about this one time there was waste! I mean you could talk about the polio vaccine, and they'd say, yeah, and this one guy in Salk's laboratory stole office supplies and used to sleep in the back room. You could talk about how the passage of Social Security (which they fought tooth and nail; it was the death of freedom circa 1935) turned senior citizens from by far the biggest group in poverty to the smallest, and they'll say, yeah, what about this guy who got it fraudulently at age 58.

This should be obvious, but if you're ending anything because you can find some waste in it, you might as well kill yourself right now, because there will be nothing left and you'll starve. In every large endeavor you'll find some waste. You could take the most successful private company in the world, Apple, Sony, you name it, and you find tons of examples of waste; employees watching porn on their computers, sexual harassment, lavish corporate jets,...

The particular example that set this off is a post by Brad Plumer at Ezra Klein's Wonkblog. It shows how slashing of government employees in some areas cost far more than it saved. In the comments we see responses like, yeah, "Using the SEC and the minerals office as examples - where porn was viewed thousands of times as the economy crashed?"

As liberals, and just intelligent people, we have to make an effort to call out these ridiculous -- but pulling at the emotions -- arguments from Republicans whenever we hear them. You don't throw away all of the valuable, or essential, meat just because there exists some fat. I don't decide not to send my daughter to college because there was the Penn State scandal. I don't throw my Vanguard portfolio in the trash as worthless because my cousin knows this one guy who works there who played computer games on the job.