Monday, January 25, 2010

Bill Gates Says Recovery Will Take Years - Software - IT Channel News by CRN

Bill Gates Says Recovery Will Take Years - Software - IT Channel News by CRN: "Gates said even when the economy does improve the government will have to institute systemic changes in order for any real rebound to take root. 'The budget's very, very out of balance and even as the economy comes back, without changes in tax and entitlement policies, it won't get back into balance. And at some point, financial markets will look at that and it will cause problems,' Gates told Good Morning America.

Gates' struck a similar chord last week in his annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 'Although the acute financial crisis is over, the economy is still weak, and the world will spend a lot of years undoing the damage, which includes lingering unemployment and huge government deficits and debts at record levels,' Gates wrote in the letter."

That's more or less what I keep saying. How can the economy "recover" with every level of government mired in unprecedented levels of debt? I get so tired of hearing all this nonsense about cyles and leading and lagging indicators, and how this so-called "recovery" is inevitable because, well, you just is. No, it isn't. There is nothing automatic about this. It seems to me that there will have to be a major rethinking of what governments are going to pay for and how they are going to pay for it. And a whole lot of things that are taken for granted now will have to go on the chopping block. For example, how about the notion that you can just jack up prison terms for tens of thousands of convicted felons, year after year, subjecting them to automatic long, or even natural life terms, without regard to the costs of incarceration? That is what happened in California from about 1980 to the present. How about the costs of federally-mandated special education and bilingual education programs? And the costs of treating uninsured patients in county hospital emergency rooms?

It isn't that there is something unworthy about such expenditures. The problem is that you can make a case for each of them individually and dozens more as well. But how do you make a case for cutting any of them from the budget when taken together there is no way to pay for all of them?

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