Monday, June 21, 2010

You’re Still Reading Krugman, Right?

Just checking. I wouldn’t want the next economic crisis to sneak up on you.

That ’30s Feeling

”In America, many self-described deficit hawks are hypocrites, pure and simple: They’re eager to slash benefits for those in need, but their concerns about red ink vanish when it comes to tax breaks for the wealthy. Thus, Senator Ben Nelson, who sanctimoniously declared that we can’t afford $77 billion in aid to the unemployed, was instrumental in passing the first Bush tax cut, which cost a cool $1.3 trillion.

German deficit hawkery seems more sincere. But it still has nothing to do with fiscal realism. Instead, it’s about moralizing and posturing. Germans tend to think of running deficits as being morally wrong, while balancing budgets is considered virtuous, never mind the circumstances or economic logic. “

Looking at the big picture, I’m with Krugman on this part. People “feel” they’re right so logic goes out the door. So do facts. I’ll be the first to tell you about the evils of debt. I don’t owe a cent to anyone. Not a single loan. But when I had to borrow for a house, I borrowed. When I had to have a car to work, I borrowed. When I needed a college education, I borrowed.

The current economic circumstances dictate that we borrow. I think a lot of people in power understand this. But they also understand that this must be followed by paying it back. In other words, taxes. And there’s the rub. Just like government, we’ve spent the last 30 years demonizing taxes.

I maintain we’ve done it before and we can do it again. And in that vein, you should read Robert Reich’s Father’s Day message. His dad remembers all this.

Don Brown
June 21, 2010

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