Ezra Klein did a piece yesterday offering the conventional deficit dove position on deficits and debt. Here’s a commentary on it.
|By: letsgetitdone Sunday October 17, 2010 7:48 pm|
On Friday, the Government reported its 2010 Fiscal Year results. Here are some fragments from a “news” article in WaPo by Vincent Del Giudice.
The U.S. government posted its second straight annual budget deficit in excess of $1 trillion as lingering unemployment constrained tax revenue.
The shortfall totaled $1.294 trillion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, second only to the $1.416 trillion deficit in 2009, the Treasury Department said today in Washington. . . .
|By: Tom Engelhardt Monday September 20, 2010 11:27 am|
The year 2009 was a bad one for the United States. And no, I’m not talking about unemployment, or poverty, or home foreclosures, or banks too-big-to-fail, or any of the other normal bad news. I’m talking about something serious. As the world’s leading maker of things that go bang in the night (and I don’t mean Hollywood films), we took a hit last year. A big one.
|By: letsgetitdone Sunday September 19, 2010 8:02 pm|
Earlier this month, Thomas Geoghegan wrote a piece for The Nation telling the Democrats the ten things they could do to really get the base excited, and at the same time do good things for the country. Here’s his list.
|By: letsgetitdone Thursday September 16, 2010 8:22 pm|
Tuesday night, I thought I’d attend The National Journal’s Debate on “Our Fiscal Future” between John Podesta and Douglas Holtz-Eakin with Jim Tankersley moderating at The George Washington University’s Marvin Center. I was interested because Podesta is often thought to be on the left-wing of “mainstream” opinion, and also it is said that he is one of the leading possibilities to succeed Rahm Emanuel as the President’s Chief of Staff. So, I wanted to see if I could find some glimmer of novelty in the point of view he expressed; some indication that he might bring some new thinking into The White House beyond what Obama has been hearing from say, Austan Goolsbee.
Unfortunately, the event filled up too fast and I wasn’t able to go, so I tuned into the live video stream, which is now available at the Center for American Progress web site. By the end of the debate I was very glad I didn’t go. First, because I got to “cover” the debate in my living room, and Second, because I didn’t appear to lose anything in translation, especially since the promised Q & A period was limited to answers to one question, and contained nothing that could possibly embarrass any of “the notables” or make them think twice about what they were saying.
|By: letsgetitdone Thursday August 19, 2010 9:31 pm|
Mike Allen in the Politico Playbook reports that he hears from the Administration that the members of the mis-named National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform may be nearing a deal “around a package on Social Security.” The money quote is:
|By: letsgetitdone Wednesday August 11, 2010 8:01 pm|
Today, Dean Baker questioned the sanity of The Washington Post, after its editorial staff once again came out for cuts in Social Security to avert a crisis which will not be manifest until 2037. In reply to the Post’s observation that this year is the first in which the Social Security program will pay out more than it takes in, and that this is a warning sign, Dean points out that it:
. . . certainly is a warning sign. The falloff in Social Security tax revenue is a warning that the economy is seriously depressed due to the collapse of the housing bubble. Double digit unemployment leads to all sorts of problems, including the strains that it places on pension funds like Social Security.
He then goes on to criticize the Post for not advocating the urgency of the need to get back to full employment to solve any pending shortfall in Social Security, and for advocating instead for possible Fiscal Commission–recommended “balanced” measures, including Social Security spending cuts to be implemented gradually to avert the projected 2037 crisis.
Dean then advocates that we reject this recommendation and wait to act. He says:
|By: letsgetitdone Tuesday July 13, 2010 12:01 am|
Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Co-Chairs of “the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform,” would have us believe that a deficit and debt crisis threatening the fiscal future of the United States is upon us, that “This debt is like a cancer,” and that unless we begin to make across the board cuts in expenditures, and also raise taxes in a way that distributes the pain across all segments of the population, there is no way we will return to fiscal sustainability. This view is false and also alarmist for many reasons.
|By: letsgetitdone Sunday July 4, 2010 12:18 pm|
In my previous three posts analyzing the June 26th AmericaSpeaks Community Conversation event I attended in Falls Church, VA, I presented the steps in the decision process used for the event, and discussed the pre-conference phase and the first four steps. These reflect a strong and consistent bias toward socializing participants into the idea that there is a deficit problem and that it has to be treated by cutting expenditures and/or raising taxes. The bias was reflected in many little ways in the materials used for the meetings and in the way the first four steps were carried out. The framing of exercises in the decision process continually restricted choices to ones that bring participants back to the supposed problem of a deficit and debt crisis. The web-streamed talks about national conference proceedings and orientations, and the brief constricted discussions of major values issues all worked to fit participants’ thinking to the ideas and frames presented in worksheets and the Federal Budget 101 presentations. Lines of discussion that would have led outside of the intended framing were politely aborted by the facilitators, pleading limited time, and the need to get through the agenda, and give everyone a chance to speak, so that any person developing counter-themes to the major narrative did not have a chance to develop these counter-themes and counter-narratives in the context of the supposedly unbiased process. In this post I’ll continue with my examination of step five of this process.
|By: letsgetitdone Wednesday June 30, 2010 10:30 am|
In my first post analyzing the June 26th AmericaSpeaks Community Conversation event I attended in Falls Church, VA, I presented the steps in the decision process used for the event and then began a discussion of the steps. I broke off my account in the middle of my narrative of Step Two.
Primary Facilitator states the purpose of the meeting, reviews the agenda, and hands out materials for the event, including a pre-survey, short survey on basic values, Federal Budget 101, and the Options Workbook. Participants watch the web-streamed Philadelphia event, including various notables speaking about the deficit problem, and also The Federal Budget 101 video giving the AmericaSpeaks narrative about the “fiscal crisis.” (continued)