I am not a sociologist but I could play one on TV.
As a possible TV sociologist I note that The White House has recently released its going forward budgetary ideas. Essentially it looks like they want to cut everything but Defense and Anti-terrorist activities. Most of the reactions I have seen in print were so predictable. They follow a pattern of admitting that the Federal budget has to be brought under control but saying such and such a program should be exempt as it is necessary because it does good things. What often follows is a personal example of the good. What never follows is any negatives connected to the program. Of course, when you are trying to convince an audience you leave out the negatives particularly if you don’t have the time or space to adequately address them or very particularly if you can’t dispose of them. Can you say spin? Or maybe you are just unaware of any negatives. Another thing that never seems to make it into these essays is alternate approaches to funding or solving the problem other than Uncle Sugar.
Even as a pretend sociologist, I am not going to say that my sample size of letters to the editor and Op-Ed columns is enough to extrapolate to the entire population of the U.S. However, I have seen this rice bowl phenomena many times over the years so I am going to extrapolate anyway. If we all have a favorite program that shouldn’t be cut then no program will ever get cut. So much for solving the budget problem. Maybe we shouldn’t blame the politicians; maybe all we need to do is look in the mirror. In the words of Pogo, “I have met the enemy and he is us.”
George K. Reynolds
Secretary, LP of Denton County