Defining what’s “essential.”

Barack Obama, from his podium deep inside The Office of the President-Elect (?!), announced today that his administration would conduct a full and complete review of every government program, determine which ones we need – and which ones we don’t – and then cut funding to everything that’s not essential.

Bravo!

I’ve frankly been waiting for someone in power to do that for years. I’ve advocated a zero-based budget process since the Clinton years. It’s encouraging to hear the President-Elect talk about doing just that.

There’s just one, teensie, tiny little ol’ problem.

Who defines what’s “essential,” and what’s not?

Let’s play a little game. We’ll ask a token Conservative, a token RINO (Republican in Name Only), a token Blue Dog Democrat, and a token Left-winger that question.

A Definition of Essential versus Non-essential programs
Conservative
Essential
Non-essential
Military Defense
Welfare/Entitlements
Border Security
Farm Subsidies
Transportation/Roads
Arts Entitlements
Communications
Research Grants
Global Warming/Climate Change Regulations
UN Dues
RINO (Republican In Name Only)
Essential
Non-essential
Military Defense (as long as it promotes the Military/Industrial complex)
Welfare/Entitlements
Border Security (as long as it doesn’t offend Hispanic voters)
Arts Entitlements (especially ones that are morally objectionable)
Transportation/Roads
Research Grants (unless they go to benefit big business)
Communications (except far-right pundits who criticize RINOs)
Global Warming/Climate Change Regulations
Farm Subsidies
Blue-Dog Democrat
Essential
Non-essential
Military Defense
Arts Entitlements
Border Security
Research Grants
Transportation/Roads
Communications
Welfare/Entitlements
Farm Subsidies
Global Warming/Climate Change Regulations
Left-wingnut
Essential
Non-essential
Global Warming/Climate Change Regulations
Military Defense
War Reparations/UN Dues
Border Security
Welfare/Entitlements
Transportation/Roads
Arts Entitlements
Communications
Research Grants
Farm Subsidies

As you can see, what is “essential” depends on who you ask. What I’m afraid of is that the people doing the picking are going to gut what’s REALLY essential (defense and security) in favor of all the touchy-feely crap upon which the government wastes our tax dollars.

I’m heartened by any news of fiscal responsibility on the part of the government. But I’m not holding my breath.

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