I listened to Chris Mathews today seem to just discover that the deficit came primarily from the Bush Tax Cuts (what? no increased revenues from the tax cuts?), unfunded wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, unfunded prescription drug benefit, the reduced income from the crash in the economy, and the increased spending on safety nets. All of these are a direct result of Republican policies during the Bush years. The stimulus spending, actually only about $300 billion (the rest were tax cuts) in actual outlays, is barely a blip on the screen. And most important, they are just realizing that repealing the Bush Tax Cuts will fix most of this. Of course Obama set this whole deficit debate up when he could not stand firm in December on repealing the Tax cuts.
The talking heads are part of our problem because by not understanding these basic facts, they have allowed the Republicans to totally misrepresent the reality of the situation, over and over again. Take our President (you take him, I don’t want him anymore) who has lent credence to their misrepresentations by buying into their narrative to attract the independents and then capitulate in every negotiation. The reality is, we have not had a Democrat in office for a long time or in reality, any Democratic policies. The Republicans totally control the agenda because Democrats simply cannot say no. So we have a Democratic President, Democratic Senate, being controlled by the Republicans, and their failure will be blamed on Democratic policies of which there haven’t been any.
Now the Republicans have been very successful at convincing everyone that we have to cut the deficit. That language has entered all the narratives. But the Republicans refuse to do it with tax revenues, just all cuts. Here is where you wonder where the talking heads are. All economists will tell you that the only way, without dismantling government, is to cut spending and raise revenues. Yet we treat these people as though they have a valid policy position. The press, with their “balanced” coverage, have badly misinformed the public, and are just now waking up to that reality as their own investments will be impacted by this madness.
Then there is the Chamber of Commerce and other Business groups that are waking up to the fact that their support of the Tea Party elected Frankenstein to office. They created them and funded them to take back the House, and now they are finding out they can’t control them. What do you know. These people actually believed the loony things they were saying and not just pandering to the loonies in the crowd. Who knew?
What all this boils down to is that there are really not two sets of facts. There is only one set. But they have been so misrepresented by the Right, that they have taken over what is perceived as truth. To Wit:
- Obama created massive debts with progressive policies – As noted above they all came from Republican actions. Republicans have stymied any effective actions with the filibuster in the Senate
- Cut taxes on the rich and there will be flow down – Never happened as the primary proof is the Bush Tax Cuts, the largest contributor to the deficit
- Reduce taxes on the wealthy (job creators) and they will reinvest in America – They have the lowest tax rates in 60 years and they are hanging on to it
- Stimulus spending doesn’t work – Deny the recovery from the Depression
- Government Jobs aren’t real jobs – It is estimate and a study in Italy showed that for every $1 spent by the government, it is multiplied by a factor of 1.5 in actual spending in the economy
- Growth of medical costs will bankrupt us, therefore cut them – reality is that if we spent what Europe does on health care, we would not have a deficit. No one is looking at our system of insurance and delivery and saying maybe we don’t need to cut services, but reform how they are delivered
- And the biggest lie of all, when the deficit is under control, business will start reinvesting in America – Businesses now earn 70% of their earnings from overseas where demand is still strong or moderately so. The numbers show that government debt has nothing to do with business investment (interest rates are at record lows). What is directly related is private debt (another measure of demand). Cutting the deficit through cuts in spending just worsen most of our citizens financial condition and make it harder for them to pay off private debt. In other words, the real solutions are mortgage relief and jobs (read spending), one, the other, or both. Just cutting will make things worse
Enter spineless Democrats who read polls and then pander, and we have a whole nation moving toward self-destruction. The commonly accepted national narrative is false, our leaders are catering to policies that will further damage our economy and increase our decline, and no one is standing up and saying wait-a-minute except Bernie Sanders, my hero. There is no debt extension crisis if they just pass (15 minute process) a clean bill, and fight the budget issues out in the budget bill. But we have empowered the loony and then we are surprised when the outcome is loony. Welcome to the circus. And the people most angry about the circus are the ones who put the clowns in office.