Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How I learned to stop worrying and love the deficit

Michael Kinsley asks an important question at the conclusion of his article in the LA Times:
The question remains: If the deficit doesn't matter, why have any taxes at all? And if there is some point at which the deficit does start to matter, and become dangerous, when is that point if $1.6 trillion isn't it?
We're now borrowing somewhere between 40 and 42 cents of every dollar the government is spending. Since certain dwarfish Princeton economists insist that this unprecedented level of borrowing is inconsequential, why not make it 100%? Just fire up the $100 printing presses and be done with the whole thing.

Wow, I feel so much better now. Yee-haw!


Anonymous said...

It's astounding how absolutely central the debt became at 12:00:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009. (There's a reason nobody takes Mitt Romney seriously on his sudden intense desire to overturn "Obamacare.")

Any reason you didn't photoshop Dick Cheney's head onto Slim Pickens' body there? After all, Reagan proved deficits don't matter.

Eric said...

Here's a post of mine from March 2008: http://vikingpundit.blogspot.com/2008/03/soon-well-be-nostalgic-for-400-billion.html

In hindsight, I'm sorry I recycled the "Candy for everyone" line. Earth Day!

Bram said...

Anonymous - The Democrats have controlled spending since 2006 when they took control over both houses of Congress.

George Bush was focused on foreign matters (at least he was focused on something) and signed pretty much everything put in front of him - including the first stimulus plan. Us Conservatives were not amused then and let the GOP know it.

President Obama inherited the mess Senator Obama made.

fuzzy headed liberal said...

Bush ran deficits and he is a Republican, so that means you can't object to deficits... or something.

DBrooks17 said...

Hey, fuzzy--you left out that Republicans apparently cannot objet to "exponentially higher" deficits, because, you know, a deficit is a deficit, and fair is fair, and Sarah Palin, and birthers, and racist homophobes, and Bush smirked, and so on, and so forth.

DBrooks17 said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah, remember when conservative rage at George W. Bush's spending was the dominant theme of American politics, and the driving force of the populist shift in the GOP?

No? If not, just pretend you remember until it seems like it happened.

George Bush was focused on foreign matters (at least he was focused on something)

Oh, absolutely. Great point. I'm reminded of that old Irish lullaby, "Tora Bora Borrraaaa..."

Bram said...

I remember Bush's first term - that's when our family income hit the AMT. I used a RNC stamped contribution envelope to let them know they won't be getting any more money as long as I'm paying AMT.

Remember when John McCain was ahead in the polls? Then he took a break, voted for TARP, lost support from fiscal conservatives - then the election. Remember that one?

DBrooks17 said...

Well, I don't know about conservative "rage," but there was certainly plenty of conservative angst over it, and I refer you to the "exponentially higher" part of my previous comment. You seem like a bright, if misguided, individual. I will do you the courtesy of assuming you know the definition of exponential.

Anonymous said...

"Exponentially higher" = moving the cost of the wars onto the budget, and paying the interest due on the Bush tax cuts. I'll do you the courtesy of assuming you understand how creative bookkeeping works.

There's always conservative angst and internecine disagreement. There's always liberal angst and disagreement. But despite the retroactive assertions, there was no groundswell of dissatisfaction with GWBush's fiscal policy that resulted in concrete counteraction by his supporters. Any debt-driven conservative angst that cropped up in 2008 is on the level of CBS suddenly noticing in 2011 that Charlie Sheen can be a handful.

Remember when John McCain was ahead in the polls?

Yes, I do. As I recall, it was a Thursday afternoon. A little cloudy that day.

The 2008 election was over at the moment Hillary Clinton's delegate count became untenable. We've all heard the claim that John McCain was sure to win until [outside factor] wrecked his lead. It's revisionism. There was no realistic scenario in which Obama would have lost to McCain. Confusing a post-convention bump for a victory lap is always an error.

Eric said...

Yeah, remember the days of sub-trillion deficits? When the debt-to-GDP ratio was manageable? Now that the (failed) policy of quantitative easing is winding down, U.S. banks are sending messages they won't buy any more T-bills.

Obama has no intention - whatsoever - of addressing the debt. Others will make that decision for us.

Anonymous said...

I also remember the days when "lockbox" was a punchline, and I remember when the budget was in surplus. And at great personal risk of being accused of "blaming Bush" (oh noes!), I also remember the unfunded policy, budgetary shenanigans, and giddy deregulation that helped create and extend this economic downturn.

That some conservatives now claim to have recognized the assault on their "core principles" as far back as 2008 doesn't exactly rebound to their credit.