Debt ceiling crisis: blame the mainstream debt scolds

Nice post from Chait yesterday explaining the huge mistake many deficit hawks made in treating the Republican party as an organization that actually cares about reducing deficits:

The failure to understand the crisis we were entering was widely shared among centrist types. When Republicans first proposed tying a debt ceiling hike to a measure to reduce the deficit, President Obama instead proposed a traditional, clean debt ceiling hike. He found this position politically untenable for many reasons, one of them being that deficit scolds insisted that using the debt ceiling to force a fiscal adjustment was a terrific idea, and that connecting the deficit debate to a potentially cataclysmic financial event was the mark of seriousness.

Alright, I do a lot of quoting of my favorite bloggers, surely you skim over some, but this next bit from Chait is a good a summary I’ve seen of the current state of the politics of economic policy.  Read it:

The political assumptions here turned out to be badly wrong. The main problem is that the Republican Party does not actually care very much about the deficit. It cares about, in order: Low taxes for high-income earners; reducing social spending, especially for the poor; protecting the defense budget; and low deficits. The Obama administration and many Democrats actually do care about the deficit and are willing to sacrifice their priorities in order to achieve it, a desire that was on full display during the health care reform debate. Republicans care about deficit reduction only to the extent that it can be undertaken without impeding upon other, higher priorities. Primarily “deficit reduction” is a framing device for their opposition to social spending, as opposed to a genuine belief that revenue and outlays ought to bear some relationship to each other.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Debt ceiling crisis: blame the mainstream debt scolds

  1. S. Griffith says:

    Interesting blog that I will check on often. Your views conflict with mine, so all the better. Maybe your views will help refine my views (and mine could refine yours). My best friend is a self-proclaimed liberal, and she and I agree on what many of the problems are, but we disagree on the solutions.

    I agree as a Tea Party conservative that I want lower taxes for those who pay taxes. The wealthy do pay more taxes, so I suppose they will benefit the most. I do wish to reduce social spending. It is my belief that our programs encourage people to stay on them instead of doing more to get off of them. I want nobody in this country to starve, or not have shelter. But, I do not want there to be an incentive to be classified as poor. Nor do I wish to punish success. (Side note: I agree that there is room to reduce military spending).

    I will say as a business person, that my business has had difficulty keeping employees working. We have had many of our employees request days off and then file for partial unemployment. Others have simply quit and then file for unemployment. The friends they leave behind, when asked, state they just “did not want to work.” We have had job openings all summer in positions that pay 20 – 30% more than the minimum wage and have had difficulty filling them.

    The way the government has counted employees towards our unemployment tax rate, our percentage increased considerably. This increase in our tax liability caused us to readjust our capital projects and cancel some of the reinvesting in our property by way of physical improvements. Canceling of these projects meant local business lost business as well, plus their suppliers and distributors. This is just one small example of the negative effect of the policies of our country have had on job creation.

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