There must be sacrifices!

If we’re going to balance the budget and erase the deficit it has to be on the backs of the poor.
That’s a sentiment that’s cropped several times among pundits and reporters in the national media this year (sorry, no links handy): We have to trim the deficit. We have to do it now. And the best way to do it is cut Social Security. Yes, it’s harsh but Everyone Must Sacrifice.
Of course, the “everyone must sacrifice” seems to translate into “poor people who need Social Security must sacrifice” since these stories rarely suggest any other alternative, like raising taxes on the rich, or cutting the defense budget (after all, how can we survive as a nation if we don’t generate half the military spending in the world?). But hey, the people who write this stories make good money; raising taxes on upper brackets would hurt them a lot more than cutting Social Security payouts.
Sometimes I’ve thought that was unfair of me, but then (courtesy of FAIR) we got Steve Pearlstein’s Washington Post column which explains why cutting wages is a great way to boost American productivity by making us competitive with workers overseas earning less.
Wait, not us: Just the little people: “I’m sure many of you are reading this and thinking that if anyone is forced to take a pay cut to rebalance the economy, surely it ought to be overpaid investment bankers, corporate executives and newspaper columnists. That’s how things would work in a socialist paradise, but not in market economies, which are much better at producing efficiency than fairness.”
In other words, pay cuts for someone like him would be Wrong because it would be inefficient. Only he neglects to say why.
After all, it’s not like the newspaper business is a booming giant; if they slashed Pearlstein’s wages, I’m sure that would save them some money.
And there’s certainly nothing efficient in the rewards for corporat executives which go up regardless of whether they do a good job or not (as Business Week has documented repeatedly over the years). Surely slashing their big bonuses would be good for the bottom line?
What’s more, as the Center For Economic and Policy Research points out here, large numbers of banking executives would be out on the street if the government hadn’t intervened. That’s hardly the free market paradise Pearlstein pretends they operate in.
Why would cutting the wages of other people be pragmatic and cutting his own be socialist? Oh, wait, I think I’ve answered my own question, haven’t I?

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14 responses to “There must be sacrifices!

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