Friday, February 27, 2004

Why We Need Bureaucrats Sometimes

It's almost axiomatic in American life that those unelected, unaccountable, shadowy bureaucrats in Washington (or wherever) are not to be trusted or given much respect because they don't have to face the wrath of the electorate. Regardless of whether that's an accurate sentiment, sometimes it's good to have people around who aren't required to bow and scrape to the democratic masses. Take Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, for instance. Earlier this week, he opined that a reduction in Social Security and Medicare benefits would be necessary to avoid huge tax hikes to cover the payouts once the Baby Boomers start moving into those benefits. Politicians of all parties howled in protest. But that's because none of them have the ability to stand up and admit that Greenspan is telling the truth. To do so would mean a sure election defeat in November. Americans regularly tell pollsters that we want more government services and benefits but don't want to pay more taxes to finance them. That's impossible, of course, but no politician will tell us that. But those, like Greenspan, who are buffered from the political rabble, can. And we better listen.

Diamond Joe Quimby was right: we're nothing but a bunch of fickle mush heads.

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