Advancing a Free Society

Budget Crisis Rhetoric

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Government budget crises can be painful, but the political rhetoric accompanying these crises can also be fascinating and revealing. Perhaps the most famous American budget crisis was New York City's, back during the 1970s. When President Gerald Ford was unwilling to bail them out, the famous headline in the New York Daily News read, "Ford to City: Drop Dead."

President Ford caved and bailed them out, after all.

The rhetoric worked. That is why so many other cities and states— not to mention the federal government— have continued on with irresponsible spending, and are now facing new budget crises, with no end in sight.

What would have happened if President Ford had stuck to his guns and not set the dangerous precedent of bailing out local irresponsibility with the taxpayers' money?

New York would have gone bankrupt. But millions of individuals and organizations go bankrupt without dropping dead.

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