economics politics

Letterman pisses me off

Dave had Senator Rand Paul on tonight and talked to him about various things. They got onto the subject of the stuff going on in Wisconsin and Paul threw out a few stats. Letterman essentially said that they can’t be right, and he got quite a reaction from the audience. Never mind that the senator was right. When Paul pointed out that the average compensation level of Wisconsin teachers is north of 80 grand (which is also correct), Dave just tosses out to general applause that the figure should be doubled.


Snap, just like that, go ahead and double it. Whatever you may think of teacher compensation, it should be obvious that can’t happen. There is a budget crisis,etc etc… I’m sure that Dave wasn’t being serious, but I’m also sure it was the first thing that popped into his head. And the audience agreed with him. The real problem underlying most of our deficits is that people’s first assumption has been that funds coming from the government can just keep coming. Federal and state budgets are enormous after all, a couple billion here and there wouldn’t matter much surely?

I don’t know what it will take to get people to stop thinking that the government is magically paying for things and start thinking about the taxpayers. It’s easy for special interests to protest against spending cuts, but it’s a lot harder for taxpayers in general to rally for tax cuts. I once had an idea that there should be laws on the books that required all mentions of “the government” paying for something to be replaced by “the taxpayers.” Maybe that would help people, including Dave, to keep their eyes on the ball. Things are a mess at seemingly every level of government, are they going to have to come to a screeching halt before people regain their senses? What will it take for folks to say that as much as they’d like to double everyone’s salary, there just isn’t enough to go around? Even more important, what will it take for people to stop thinking that the money will simply come from somewhere/someone else…

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