Ivan Eland: Deep down, both Republican and Democratic politicians believe something needs to be done about the monstrous and dangerous deficit and debt, but they are scared to do anything because, unfortunately, the American people want their government handouts but are unwilling to pay for them.
Robert Reich: Tea Partiers have almost as much contempt for big business and the Street as they do for government. After all, the Tea Party was born in anger over the Wall Street bailout. This is the heart of the civil war in the GOP.
Ivan Eland: To keep with the bipartisan spirit after the Gabrielle Giffords’ assassination attempt and also to avoid partisan fighting over spending priorities, which will bog down and probably eventually kill any significant budget cuts, all government programs should be cut by 15 percent from last year’s budget level, including heretofore sacred defense and entitlement programs.
Robert Reich: Next week starts the new Congress, and with it the Tea Party conservatives. What are they going to do about government spending? Knowing they don’t stand a chance of getting a direct repeal of the healthcare mandate, they’ll try to strip the federal budget appropriation of money needed to put the healthcare mandate into effect. This could lead to a standoff with the White House over government funding in general, and a possible government shutdown.
Steve Hochstadt: Those who want government to go away, or at least get a lot smaller, seem to have two ideas about how to shrink government: Cut out the “waste” and let private companies take over many of its functions. Their assumption is that the private sector can do these jobs better and cheaper. Is that true?