Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Attention Deficit Democrats



I should probably make more statements like Paul Krugman did yesterday.

"So the fact that Boehner’s idea of economics is completely insane matters."

Here is Congressman Boehner in his own words, if you care to watch.

Video -- Spending Sanity

Now, to find out why those words are insane, do yourself a favor and go read Krugman.

Please keep in mind that it was these types of Republicans that led us to this economic disaster. They didn’t want any government regulators so they didn’t fund them. Less government, to them, meant more profit. And they were right up to a point. The insanity came in when they kept going further and further right. You can see the effects everywhere, from sub-prime mortgages to peanut-processing plants. The government was so hamstrung they couldn’t even catch the blatant crooks, much less the merely careless, unscrupulous and greedy.

I don’t expect the same frat-boy unity out of Democrats that the Republican Party is famous for -- a diversity of ideas is a good thing -- but Democrats really need to get their act together here. Much of America doesn’t understand the economic forces at work today -- much less the theory for curing our ills. The Republicans certainly aren’t going to make it clear. They only have one response to any crisis -- the always popular tax cut. Economic boom ? Cut taxes. Economic crisis ? Cut taxes. It weakens government regulation and strengthens business and brings us right back to where we started.

We either create demand with government spending or the massive layoffs that have been occurring will continue. We’re losing over 600,000 jobs a month. Business -- at the moment -- can’t employ them (hence the layoffs.) The unemployed don’t spend money like the employed which leads to businesses laying off even more people because their products aren’t selling.

If the government doesn’t find a way of employing these people, it has to send them unemployment checks (or some kind of assistance.) We aren’t going to let them starve in the street. In other words, we’re trapped. It costs us to employ them and it costs us not to employ them. It’s a no-brainer. Put them to work.

If we’re smart, we’ll put them to work doing something productive -- building bridges, paving roads or educating our children. Once they’re employed, they start to spend again and businesses respond by hiring again to meet the demand. Once you understand the theory, you can understand that cutting government spending -- at this time -- really is insane. Unless you want people to starve in the street.

There is productive work to be done. I read this in The New York Times last week about spending the stimulus money in New York State.

Of course, every new courthouse or sewer is a potential embarrassment akin to the Bridge to Nowhere. Any political fallout from waste or corruption will settle on Mr. Paterson, who, like all governors distributing stimulus money, must approve each project and certify its legitimacy. And even with $4 billion to spend, there is not enough to go around: local officials have submitted 7,675 projects totaling $41.8 billion, with more coming in each day.

$41 billion worth of projects and only $4 billion to spend. It all sounds like a lot of money. But try sending out 12 million unemployment checks and see what it costs you. Even at only a $100 dollars a month that is $1,200,000,000. A month. And you know you can’t live off $100 a month. At the current rate, we add another million people every two months. Do you see how fast this becomes really expensive ?

Pay attention.

Don Brown
March 11, 2009

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