Thursday, February 14, 2013

Don't Be CON'ed by Republi-CON Deficiet and Debt Myths

UPDATE:  "Deficit talk is a rhetorical ploy -- a decoy justification for the unpopular-but-necessary component of both parties' larger political agendas.

How do we know? Ask any Republican leader what they think about the deficit. "Simply immoral," said Mitt Romney, the party's defeated presidential nominee. "The transcendent issue of our time," said Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. Senator Marco Rubio, who delivered the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union address, called it "our nation's greatest challenge."

Then ask them how this uber-challenge should be addressed. Not by tax revenue, as House Speaker John Boehner has said. And not by cutting the defense spending that accounts for two-thirds of all federal consumption and investment, as Senator John McCain has demanded. Republicans are so concerned about the deficit that they're prepared to offer not a single major policy concession to address it.

Democrats aren't much better. . .

Here's what's really going on: a schizophrenic conversation about the proper size and role of government. It's really easy to win political support for lower taxes or for particular government spending. It's really hard, by contrast, to win support for the concomitant part of the Republican or Democratic agendas:  big cuts to specific federal programs or increases in average tax rates on the middle class.

Read Bloomberg, Almost Nobody in Washington Cares About the Deficit.

"David Leonhardt’s 'Here’s the Deal' is one of the calmest, clearest looks you’ll find at the deficit — both what it is and how to fix it. . .

Here are" several highlights, including:

"2. 'Eventually, the country will have to confront the deficit we have, rather than the deficit we imagine. The one we imagine is a deficit caused by waste, fraud, abuse, foreign aid, oil-industry subsidies and vague out-of-control spending. The one we have is caused by the world’s highest health costs (by far), the world’s largest military (by far), a Social Security program built when most people died by age 70—and, to pay for it all, the lowest tax rates in decades. . .

10. 'Perhaps the best news in the entire messy deficit debate is that the kind of tax increases needed to make a real difference are not very scary. Making changes so that the tax code would raise, say, an additional 2 percentage points of GDP over the next 25 years would be entirely in keeping with the direction of American history. The evidence strongly suggests that it would not derail economic growth. And a disproportionate share of the increase could come from a segment of society that has done very, very well.'"

Read the Washington Post, 10 great points from David Leonhardt’s 'Here’s the Deal'