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Jump Start

© Ed Stein

The economy continues to lurch along, gaining a little bit of steam, then falling back again. Unemployment stays stubbornly around 9%, homes are still being foreclosed at a ferocious rate, and the housing industry remains in a deep funk, Meanwhile, official Washington is consumed with the debate over the debt ceiling. Will someone please explain to me how cutting long-term spending (something I agree we need to do sometime soon) is going to jump-start the economy so that it can create the jobs needed to pull us out of this trough? Several of the conservative friends I’ve asked this question insist that solving the deficit now will give businesses the market certainty they need to start hiring again. Even if they’re right, his seems like awfully week tea, given the depth of the problem. These are the same folks who recite the mantra that cutting taxes always produces economic growth and reduce the deficit (See effect of Bush tax cuts). They are, of course, also the people who claim that the stimulus did nothing at all (See auto sales, GM. See also, state budget cuts after the stimulus money was exhausted). If anyone can tell me when an austerity budget ever pulled us out of a recession, I’d be willing to listen. I can’t think of one. I do know that the rush to cut the deficit during the Great Depression helped lengthen it by a decade.

What annoys me the most in all of this is that Democrats lack the courage to lay out an ambitious plan for jobs and economic growth based on the principles that they know work. Instead, they negotiate with deficit hawks and tax-cut absolutists whose ideas have been repudiated again and again by history, but who cling to the same tired theories no matter the evidence. As a result, Congress and the president play Russian roulette with the debt ceiling at a time when we should be focused on creating jobs, and the Great Recession lingers on and on.



  1. Max wrote:

    “official Washington is consumed with the debate over the debt ceiling.”

    That’s not fair. Washington is also concerned about Libya.

    Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink
  2. oregonbird wrote:

    While millions of extra dollars pour into the hands of arms dealers – who now show up on the red carpet at Cannes, and are given open approval. This administration is as corrupt as the last, using war to line the pockets of its corporate backers. Obama isn’t even pretending to attempt to limit the profits that banks and insurance companies are ripping out of the proles; citizens are going to jail for providing solid evidence of police corruption; the 4th Estate and scientists are working for the corporations, hiding the deaths the oil spills are causing in the gulf; our public universities are selling education to corporatists at cut-rate prices; our school children – and ourselves – are denied the basic rights that the Constitution allows. Are we having fun yet?

    Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink
  3. Dan wrote:

    Dear Oregonbird, ever heard of Dodd-Franks(?) or the Consumer Protection Act? If I’m not mistaken Republicans in Congress are doing whatever they can to slow those down. Tell me, what’s Obama supposed to do? Supply side/Trickle Down economics has been putting more and more of the money into the hands of fewer and fewer since the 80s. Why wouldn’t they have all the power? When Obama said he wanted to spread the wealth he became a Socialist, and he didn’t start the wars, so quit blaming him for long term Republican policies, and stop listening to Rush.

    Monday, June 13, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:

    Whoops, I stand corrected, Dodd-Frank has been called a sham by Open Congress org. Initially I thought it was, but I guess I drank the kool-aid handed out by the media. My bad. Why is it that when we bailed out GM we owned it? When we baild out Wall Street, they still owned us?

    Monday, June 13, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink