The Flinchum File

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Marginalize Extremists?

A new analysis from Brown University estimates the cost of the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan has been $6.4 trillion.  Ignoring the necessity of those wars, focus on paying for the wars.  Looking at, our national debt is about $26.8 trillion.  That means the cost of those never-ending wars explains about 24% of our national debt.

Due to the pandemic, our budget deficit for the first eleven months of this fiscal has been about $3 trillion – a tsunami of red ink!  If you subscribe to Modern Monetary Theory, you are not concerned, as the government can always “print” enough new money to handle any amount of debt outstanding.  However, if you subscribe to the Austrian school of economics, you are very concerned, as Republicans will not permit increased taxes and Democrats will not permit decreased entitlements.

Total U.S. tax revenue is about $3.2 trillion.  Of that, defense spending and interest on the national debt takes about $1.1 trillion of that amount, which leaves about $2.1 trillion in entitlement spending.  A compromise would be each party takes accountability for that part of the budget most important to them.  In other words, could Republicans take responsibility for increasing tax revenue by 2% (?) each year, in real terms.  They could raise or lower whatever taxes they choose, as long as the total was increased 2% each year.  Likewise, could Democrats take responsibility for decreasing entitlement spending each year?  They could also raise or lower whatever entitlements they choose, as long the total was decreased 2% each year.  Of course, they could . . . but, of course, they will not!

The problem is that incumbents are too afraid of being “primary’ed” by extremists in both parties.  Maybe, we cannot solve the budget problems until we deal with our electoral problems.  Republicans and Democrats would never agree on the details, maybe they would agree to eliminate primaries, which would benefit incumbents.  Eliminating primaries would shift some power away from extremists.  That might shift some power into smokey-back-rooms, at least temporarily, but the candidates produced would certainly be an improvement over the current system.  Whatever the cost to a “perfect” electoral process, that is much cheaper than an economic collapse.

MAGA should become Make America Governable Again!