So last week, Joe Scarborough and Jeffery (who shall from this day forward be known as “Balls”) Sachs published an article titled, “Deficits do Matter”, in the Washington Post. I’m sure conservatives and everyone in Washington loved it, because it attacks President Obama and Paul Krugman, two dudes dumb people love to hate. However, contrary to the title, the author’s don’t actually cite any evidence that deficits matter.
Instead, the argument throughout is that Obama is a big spender, which is not true, and that Paul Krugman is a bad, awful, irresponsible man for saying that debt and deficits don’t matter—which he never said. In fact, the last paragraph Krugman wrote in one of his most famous columns pretty much dismisses Scarborough and Balls’ argument entirely:
“So yes, debt matters. But right now, other things matter more. We need more, not less, government spending to get us out of our unemployment trap. And the wrongheaded, ill-informed obsession with debt is standing in the way.”
In other words, we need to worry about jobs—not deficits, and morons like Scarborough and Balls keep on preventing it from happening by publishing shitty articles proclaiming how much we need to be worrying about the debt
What’s maddening, is that their argument has no basis whatsoever. In other words, there’s no there, there: it is entirely absent of any real proof that deficits matter. Sure, as they point out, the White House vastly overestimated how much the 2009 stimulus would help the economy (probably because it was full of tax cuts instead of actual productive spending), but they provide neither proof that it didn’t (and non-corrupt economists agree that it saved millions of jobs), nor do they explain how current deficits are impacting the economy.
So basically, their argument is this: the debt is big, so we shouldn’t spend money, because then it will get bigger, which will prevent us from spending money. Again, nowhere in their column is there any evidence that large deficits, or the size of the national debt, impacts the economy in any negative way. Worse, the authors don’t seem at all concerned about jobs, just debt and deficits.
In sum, all Scare-Borough and Balls achieve is to once again scare the public into thinking that our national debt and deficit is somehow hurting the economy; an economy, by the way, that just this week saw records set in the stock market and the unemployment rate drop to the lowest level it’s been in the last 4 years.
What’s even more embarrassing for Scam-borough and Balls, is their amateurish attempt to slam Krugman. To their credit, they correctly explain basic Keynesian theory, which is that you run deficits to escape a recession, and then pay back your debt when the economy prospers. Then, as mentioned, they accuse Krugman of partisan hackery, saying that he was opposed to the Bush tax cuts back in the early 2001 (on the basis that additional spending was unnecessary and irresponsible given an aging population), but now with a Democrat in the White House, he wants to spend money like a drunken sailor.
However, if either of these fucking hacks they had half the mental capacity of a chimpanzee, they’d realize that what Krugman was saying is totally in line with the Keynesian theory they just explained. When Bush decided to enact his massive tax cuts (the worst form of stimulus), there was no need for additional government spending; the economy may not have been exactly humming, but it wasn’t near as bad as it is now, when according to Keynesian theory, we ought to spend money to promote a real recovery.
Indeed, if we hadn’t run deficits because of those foolish fucking tax cuts, or gotten into two expensive and unnecessary wars, our debt would be much less than it is now, and ass clown Republicans like Balls and Scarred Brain Tissue wouldn’t be peeing their pants right now over the debt and deficit.