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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:56 PM

Paul Krugman: "Deficit-Scolds Never Really About Deficit, But About Shredding Social Safety Net"

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/opinion/krugman-hawks-and-hypocrites.html

OP-ED COLUMNIST
Hawks and Hypocrites
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: November 11, 2012

Back in 2010, self-styled deficit hawks — better described as deficit scolds — took over much of our political discourse. At a time of mass unemployment and record-low borrowing costs, a time when economic theory said we needed more, not less, deficit spending, the scolds convinced most of our political class that deficits rather than jobs should be our top economic priority. And now that the election is over, they’re trying to pick up where they left off.

They should be told to go away.

It’s not just the fact that the deficit scolds have been wrong about everything so far. Recent events have also demonstrated clearly what was already apparent to careful observers: the deficit-scold movement was never really about the deficit. Instead, it was about using deficit fears to shred the social safety net. And letting that happen wouldn’t just be bad policy; it would be a betrayal of the Americans who just re-elected a health-reformer president and voted in some of the most progressive senators ever.

About the hypocrisy of the hawks: as I said, it has been evident for years. Consider the early-2011 award for “fiscal responsibility” that three of the leading deficit-scold organizations gave to none other than Paul Ryan. Then as now, Mr. Ryan’s alleged plans to reduce the deficit were obvious flimflam, since he was proposing huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations while refusing to specify how these cuts would be offset. But in the eyes of the deficit scolds, his plan to dismantle Medicare and his savage cuts to Medicaid apparently qualified him as a fiscal icon.

- snip -

And then there’s the matter of the “fiscal cliff.”

Contrary to the way it’s often portrayed, the looming prospect of spending cuts and tax increases isn’t a fiscal crisis. It is, instead, a political crisis brought on by the G.O.P.’s attempt to take the economy hostage. And just to be clear, the danger for next year is not that the deficit will be too large but that it will be too small, and hence plunge America back into recession.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Paul Krugman: "Deficit-Scolds Never Really About Deficit, But About Shredding Social Safety Net" (Original post)
Hissyspit Nov 2012 OP
Warpy Nov 2012 #1
Jack Sprat Nov 2012 #2
freshwest Nov 2012 #9
CrispyQ Nov 2012 #14
freshwest Nov 2012 #19
Selatius Nov 2012 #10
CrispyQ Nov 2012 #15
Cha Nov 2012 #3
JohnnyRingo Nov 2012 #4
DCKit Nov 2012 #5
pansypoo53219 Nov 2012 #6
go west young man Nov 2012 #7
fadedrose Nov 2012 #8
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #16
ReRe Nov 2012 #11
LongTomH Nov 2012 #18
Hissyspit Nov 2012 #12
Hissyspit Nov 2012 #13
sabrina 1 Nov 2012 #17

Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:44 AM

1. Yeah, we knew that already

If they gave a shit about the deficit, they wouldn't be stealing chump change from widows and orphans, they'd be going after the damned military, something that has needed serious budget trimming since WWII.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:13 AM

2. Don't ever forget these deficit hounds

 

were applauding deficits as Bush began growing them again in the early 2000s, even saying they were healthy for a growing economy. I remember it well. I was thinking how idiotic it was that so much was made of the balanced budgets and surpluses pre-Bush, and then seeing the repubs just blow it all off as unnecessary.

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Response to Jack Sprat (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:54 AM

9. I remember in the Reagan years when they were open about their intentions in running up debt...

They said it would force the end of Social Security, etc. They said that was the reason for all the outrageous spending. Couldn't let those peasants get a peace dividend. Oh, no, that would be immoral. The Reagan administration believed in the philosophy of Ayn Rand, but covered it up with cloyingly sentimental religion imagery.

The GOP has always said Social Security was going broke, from the inception. They liked the Great Depression and the wars, they made millions from both. They re-arranged the political and physical landscape of the United States with them. The first one backfired in the face of many years of leftist and progressive movements, resulting in the FDR move to create a social democracy. It was working, too. How terrible!

I wish I'd kept an old magazine I found in my barn, published in the fifites. They said that Social Security would be broke in ten years. That was even before Medicare began. Social Secuirty and social safety programs are not a matter of the budget. They are a matter of political will. That will has been weakened by generations of propaganda. For each one, those who hate it tell the younger generation it won't be there.

This may be the generation that finally buys that lie and makes it happen by giving up if they reject progressive government.


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Response to freshwest (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:49 PM

14. Excellent post!

They are a matter of political will. That will has been weakened by generations of propaganda.


Anyone born after Reagan has only heard that social security is going broke & unions are bad.

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #14)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:49 PM

19. And then they embrace TEOTWAWKI and libertarian claptrap.

The propaganda has many variations, but they don't see the end result being what the Koches want and are unwilling to admit they're burning down the barn to get of the rats.

Good mousers of the Democratic kitteh legions can eliminate the rats and the Kochroaches from our national dialogue. I think Nordquist might require a litter of kittehs.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 03:07 AM

10. If they gave two shits about deficits, they'd advocate taxing capital gains = income from labor.

In the United States, we tax capital gains that investors get at a lower rate than gains made from one's own labor. I don't know about you or anyone else here at DU, but I think something about that is fundamentally backward. When you have somebody like Warren Buffett noting that his secretary pays a higher percentage of income to taxes than he does, you know who really runs this country.

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Response to Selatius (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:51 PM

15. This.

Shred the net is what it's all about. Suck every dime off the underclasses.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:44 AM

3. I know they don't give a shit about the defict.. they only care about

nagging and raging on the President. Fuck them and their Whining about the damn deficit.

The Evidence is there during the bush coup..how they spent with Abandonment. They think we can't look it up and see what fucking hypocrites they are?

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:08 AM

4. The fight isn't about spending....

It's about who gets the money the government is spending.

Even Paul Ryan's safety net shredding budget wasn't about balancing the books, it shifted the money saved from cuts to benefit the wealthy. This is class warfare over government largese.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:15 AM

5. Paul, it's not about the deficit, it's about privatizing everything.

 

If you missed another of my posts, think about how much money could be made, or how many states could be made to lose their asses when the vulture capitalists come swooping in on a FEMA devided into 51 parts.

It's the profiteering.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:21 AM

6. DUH,

they only matter when a DEMOCRAT wins.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:25 AM

7. Grover Nordquist and Frank Luntz were pushing this into the MSM before Romney was a cooked goose on

election night. Obviously their goal was to water down the momentum we gained in the election and change the subject from rebuilding the middle class and securing the public safety net. We need to regain the conversation and put this dainty "fiscal cliff" term to bed. Why do we always let these idiots dictate the conversation? They have no credibility. Especially when it comes to finance. Lets regain control and put these loud mouth dinosaurs to bed once and for all. They are useless.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:26 AM

8. David Letterman had it right...

He told the Reps to say good-bye to the military . . . if the taxes on the 2% were not raised....

We're not at real war now, just cleaning up in Afghanistan. Maybe Letterman's on to something...

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:52 PM

16. And then the unemployment rate will really shoot up, I guess pun intended.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 03:26 AM

11. Like my Mum used to say...

.... "It's always the same way...Republicans come in and run up the bills, and Democrats have to get back in there and straighten it all out." Bill Clinton explained it all in a nut shell too, at the Convention: "Arithmetic".

Mum uttered another truism in her last days... It was in reaction to my sister's piano-playing. When Sis would make a mistake, she would come to a dead stop. And here was Mum's truism: "When you male a mistake, don't stop. Just keep on going."

We're going to come out of this dark nightmare that the bully Republicons' have created. We are. We're not going to quit until we get it all cleaned up. Talk about "cliffs", we just dodged one last Tuesday.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:07 PM

18. +1000

Well said!

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:50 AM

12. kick for morning nt

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:59 AM

13. Kick nt

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:57 PM

17. Excellent post from Krugman. The fight is on for Democratic Principles.

It’s not just the fact that the deficit scolds have been wrong about everything so far. Recent events have also demonstrated clearly what was already apparent to careful observers: the deficit-scold movement was never really about the deficit. Instead, it was about using deficit fears to shred the social safety net. And letting that happen wouldn’t just be bad policy; it would be a betrayal of the Americans who just re-elected a health-reformer president and voted in some of the most progressive senators ever.


I was happy to see that Democrats who did work to defeat Republicans were already organizing a huge coalition to stop them from attacking the social safety and unions. People no longer are willing to leave it to the politicians.

And already we are being told to 'stfu'. No way is that going to happen anymore. The Third Way's plans for SS are on their website. What more evidence do we need that the enemy is within this party now and needs to be completely marginalized before it's too late.

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