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Monday, November 22, 2010

The establishment's strange debt fetish

An exit poll from the recent elections showed a whole 4% of the electorate thought deficits are the nation's #1 problem. Well over 50% thought the economy was the # 1 problem. Deficits are a problem but the best way, in the short term to solve the problem, is to make growing the economy the #1 goal. When George H. Bush and when Bill Clinton raised taxes, guess what. The economy still grew despite all the predictions of doom by the GOP and the deficit shrank. In Clinton's case we even ended up with a surplus. Right now there is no reason not to continue the Bush tax cuts for 98% of the country.

So why the fuck is Washington and the media establishment so obsessed with the deficit? Partly because they have felt absolutely economic no pain in the past two years and can't really relate from their mental fortress in DC.

At least some media pundits get it like Jonathan Chaitof the New Republic.

What's truly bizarre is this idea that it's the most urgent issue to address. Climate change seems clearly more urgent--and, what's more, it's probably irreversible. The economic crisis is also more urgent. But Washington elites are fairly removed from the cataclysmic effects of the economic crisis--they're not losing their homes or living in economic terror. And climate change is a "partisan" issue, unworthy of the urgings of a non-partisan wise man. And so, by dint of the peculiar isolation and sociological demands of the members of the political and media establishments, the deficit must become the top priority.

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