The consequence is political overload: The system can no longer make choices, especially unpleasant choices, for the good of the nation as a whole. Public opinion is hopelessly muddled. Polls by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago consistently show Americans want more spending for education (74 percent), health care (60 percent), Social Security (57 percent) and, indeed, almost everything. By the same polls, between half and two-thirds of Americans regularly feel their taxes are too high; in 2010, a paltry 2 percent thought them too low. Big budget deficits follow logically; but of course, most Americans want those trimmed, too.I wonder whether we have already reached the tipping point, whether the critical mass of citizens who have a deep-seated understanding of the link between genuine prosperity and limited government can ultimately carry the day against the socialist true-believers and the apolitical, but willfully blind, hordes of ignoramuses – the “low information” voters – who are so easily manipulated by the professional Chicken Littles of the left into believing that the only thing standing between them and penury is ever larger and more expensive government – paid for by someone else, of course.
The trouble is that, despite superficial support for "deficit reduction" or "tax reform," few Americans would surrender their own benefits, subsidies and tax breaks -- a precondition for success.
At this stage, I believe there is the barest chance that we can claw our way back to fiscal sanity in an orderly fashion. I hope we can pull this off, because, ultimately, we will have to deal with reality, one way or the other; either we will manage the process intelligently, or we will wake up one day to find that the well has run dry – and neither the promises of generations of politicians, nor our own blithe expectations will have a shred of relevance.