Stan Collender’s almost-last-of-the-year Roll Call column tells you everything you need to know about what’s ahead next year…and why you should believe him. Continue reading
Now, back to unnamed Republican lawmaker who thinks his party isn’t to blame. The frightening thing is, he probably believes it. When people hold certain ideological beliefs strongly enough, no amount of facts will get in their way. If you believe that the current deficit is the result of excessive government spending (passed by Democrats, even though they only controlled Congress and the White House for four out of the past thirty years*), no pile of charts will be big enough to convince you otherwise — just like if you believe that tax cuts increase tax revenues, that the deficit has produced high interest rates, or that Barack Obama was born on Mars, no amount of evidence will convince you otherwise.
This is just fine if you are my daughter, who is four years old — although, actually, she admits it when she makes a mess (and helps clean it up). But if you are a legislator in the most powerful country in the world –and the one whose debt is the definitionally risk-free asset against which the yield of every other financial asset in the entire world is measured — it’s not good enough.
(Via The Baseline Scenario.)
Ideology is idiocy. I can’t say that enough.
“Cutting government spending often sounds like a good idea to many people, and it is a popular rallying cry for many Republicans and Conservatives, but a new Harris Poll underlines how difficult it is. When shown a list of 20 areas of federal government spending, a majority of the public supports cutting only six of them and these do not include the big ticket items that comprise most of the federal budget. Furthermore large majorities oppose cutting Social Security or federal health care programs, which many economists believe are increasing at unsustainable rates…
These results prompt two thoughts. The first is that the big picture – cutting government spending, in general – looks very different than the more detailed picture – cutting specific programs. Many people seem to want to cut down the forest but to keep the trees. The second is that this is not 1980, when President Reagan came to power. At that time there was a much greater appetite for cutting many government programs than there is today. Furthermore it should be noted that, in spite of his rhetoric, Ronald Reagan had great difficulty cutting government spending.”
(Via Harris Interactive.)
When will we be adults about this?
“A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday…
[This] report comes on the heels of a similar analysis last week by the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which predicted that the Republican spending cuts would cause even greater damage to the economy, slowing growth by as much as 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of this year.”
Predictably, the GOP goes after the messenger when it can’t rebut the message. It’s a surefire way to determine who’s lying or incompetent and who’s not, who’s got a grip on reality and who’s in denial. And sure enough as I kept reading:
Republican leaders frequently claim that cutting government spending will create jobs by removing the fear of higher taxes from the minds of the nation’s business owners and entrepreneurs…
So far, the Republicans have been unable to marshal an independent analysis that reflects that view. [emphasis mine]
In other words, they are pulling this economic “theory” clean out of their ideological butts.
“The current Republican Party lacks a similar basic, manageable agenda. It’s all or nothing. And the GOP no longer seems to have the capacity to get policy plans developed into legislation that is written, negotiated, and signed into law. The GOP has made a political choice to cut off a lot of its policy capacity. That’s why it has no budget plans other than Ryan’s super-unpopular one. It’s why it didn’t come up with any meaningful alternative to health reform. It’s not because Republicans are dumb — although Boehner and his allies were no match for Nancy Pelosi in a battle of tactics and determination — but because offering an alternative would mean negotiating, finding areas of agreement and disagreement.”
Now this is punditry. Predicted circa July 2010.