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Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:56 AM

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


Hawks and Hypocrites
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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Reply Paul Krugman: "Deficit-Scolds Never Really About Deficit, But About Shredding Social Safety Net" [View all]
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
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sabrina 1 Nov 2012 #17