The Budget Cuts: Does American Exceptionalism Begin At Home?

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4 Responses

  1. cainandtoddbenson says:

    “American Exceptionalism”. Art, image.

  2. Frank Pasquale says:

    Thank you for a great visit. I completely agree with your perspective. We are in a fiscal mess largely because of tax giveaways to the rich, financial industry chicanery, and endless war, as this chart helps show:

    I think that if anyone wants to see where these trends are leading to, they might want to take a look at Gary Shteyngart’s latest novel, or listen to his interview with Doug Henwood on the Behind the News radio show, the 9/23 show available here:

  3. I agree with your points about the current US Administration’s policy, and appreciate your raising them so bluntly, but I wonder how exceptional it really is. It seems like David Cameron’s UK (and indeed the whole Parliament that voted overwhelmingly to back the Libyan intervention) suffers from a similarly divided self. And perhaps the Sarkozy government as well. And the role of oil may be a complicating factor. As a bunch of pundits wondered on BBC’s Dateline last week, would the allies intervening in Libya — pretty much all of whom are cutting public-service budgets — give (oil-poor) Syria a pass?

  4. Orin Kerr says:

    Maxine, I don’t think the comparison here really works.

    First, I don’t see a inconsistency in using optimistic rhetoric in one context and pessimistic rhetoric elsewhere. Government doesn’t either “work” or “not work.” Different government policies raise very different concerns: We might be very optimistic about some types of government intervention but very pessimistic about other types of government intervention.

    I think the comparison you’re drawing here is especially problematic because the kind of costs implicated by the kind of domestic spending you favor would seem to be orders of magnitude greater — and would last orders of magnitude longer in time — than the brief intervention in Libya. Given those real differences, I don’t think it’s surprising that the terms of the debate on those policies are quite different.

    Of course, it may be that you favor a set of policies and you personally see your support as a moral question, and you want others to see those policies as a moral question, as well, in the hope that they will then support the same policies you support. But if so, I would think that’s an argument best made directly. I suspect it won’t persuade those who don’t already agree with you to make the argument as one of consistency between government programs abroad and at home.