Priorities & tradeoffs
January 19, 2013, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Now that the always-super-strategizing Rethugs have said they’re going to raise the debt-ceiling, I guess we can all rest easy about having a full complement of specialists ‘tracking down’ ‘loose nukes’ (for another 3 months). But the threat lingers on. Apparently any time any constraints at all are placed on Congressional spending, ‘tracking down loose nukes’ is slated to be the first thing that goes.

By implication, this can only be true if President Obama doesn’t really want anyone ‘tracking down’ ‘loose nukes’ in the first place, and is afraid to say it. Let’s not anyone talk about that though. Instead let’s talk about whether/for how long our ongoing ‘tracking down loose nukes’ effort has been under this threat of cancellation.

To his credit, for consistency if nothing else, Ezra Klein has been pounding this drum beat at least since April of last year:

Because when it comes to the deficit, Congress really has two choices: Do something to solve it, or do nothing and let that solve it. The same can’t be said for issues such as infrastructure and loose nukes and climate change and….

So apparently it’s sincerely a prominent concern of his. More power to him.

But if he cares so much about this issue – always having a full staff of ‘loose nukes’ tracker-downers – why has he chosen this way of arguing for his cause?

As stated, the premise here is that loose nuke tracker-downers are the first thing that will be cancelled in any spending-limited situation. It seems to me that the Ezra Klein approach to combating this travesty is to make the following argument with his writing efforts:

“We must never ever limit spending, or borrowing to cover that spending, at all. On account of that might threaten loose-nuke tracker-downers.”

But mightn’t this sales pitch be more efficient, as well as realistic?

“Hey everyone, tracking down loose nukes is very important. We should prioritize it above other things and here’s why! So even though spending is limited, as is inevitable, loose-nuke tracker-downers should be protected.”

Howcome he doesn’t argue that? Instead what happens is that our government spends money on extending unemployment benefits 99+ weeks, and on cell phones for minorities, and on proselytizing for a law (Obamacare) that already passed, &c &c – all with nary a word or a peep from the oh-so-concerned-about-loose-nukes Ezra Klein. Sure, go ahead, spend X dollars, on whatever the hell. Who cares! Only mean people would disagree! says he, and his co-thinkers.

Can he not see that this is what threatens his cherished loose-nuke-tracky-downy endeavor? Unless we’re supposed to behave as if we have Infinity dollars and unlimited resources, we have to make tradeoffs and choices, in the service of priorities. Ezra Klein has convinced me that tracking down loose nukes is a big priority of his.

Well, sort of. Because: why doesn’t he act like it?

6 Comments so far
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Cell phones for minorities? That’s a new one to me…

Comment by tangentstyle

I dunno:
But I’m not 100% sure how to interpret that – can’t claim to be an expert on the policy….

Comment by The Crimson Reach

Well…good for Cleveland I guess.

Comment by tangentstyle

There must be a manual for this or something, because it’s pretty much the standard procedure of every local and state government as well. City budget didn’t balance this year? “Vote for this sales tax or the firemen & schools are gonna get it!”

It’s astounding how there’s never a surplus associate diversity coordinator or two to take the hit instead of vital, popular services.

Comment by SkepticalCynical

There’s a term I just encountered recently, ‘closing the Washington Monument':

So yes, it’s a common and (in a machiavellian way) totally understandable dynamic.

Maybe what puzzles me here is that I just don’t think this ‘tracking down loose nukes’ thing qualifies as a ‘Washington monument’. No one runs around with the thought Gee I hope we have a full complement of tracker-downers. It’s really *not* a ‘vital, popular service’ – it’s something we’d all have forgotten about if Ezra Klein hadn’t reminded us (and, arguably, Obama’s speechwriter) of it.

Which, again, more power to him. Maybe it’s a sincere concern of his. But then it wouldn’t be a ‘Washington monument’, it would be something he really thinks should be high on government’s priority list. So I’d expect him to act like it. But he doesn’t.

It’s confusing. And sending me around in circles, as you can see…

Comment by The Crimson Reach


Comment by VhRmVEySCtfYEW

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