Don’t Succumb to Deficit Hysteria

red-inkTuesday, as expected, the White House announced that the deficit projections are worse than it had thought. And as expected, the same old group of deficit hystrics went ballistic. “A 10-year deficit of $9 trillion is $30,000 for each man, woman and child in the United States!” Kabaam. “Public debt will total a whopping $17.5 trillion by 2019 — three-quarters of the nation’s entire economy!” Kaboom. “The number would send Reagan’s stack of thousand-dollar bills into satellite orbit!” Zowee.

Can we please relax?

First, 10-year projections are notoriously irrelevant. Remember Ross Perot? In 1992, he predicted that the federal budget deficit was on track to end to the world as we knew it. In fact, the rapid growth of the economy during the following years reduced the deficit to zero (neither Bill Clinton’s famous deficit-cutting nor Republican insistence on a balanced budget was responsible; the deficit reached zero before any major fiscal changes kicked in).

Second, deficits and debts mean just about nothing anyway — at least out of context. In 1945, the federal debt was 120 percent of the entire U.S. economy. Yeegads! Yet only a few years later, the debt as a proportion of GDP had been tamed — and not primarily because of cuts in government spending. Yes, of course, wartime spending ended. But the big change was in the denominator of the equation. Economic growth kicked in big time, and reduced the debt as a proportion of the economy to manageable levels.

robert_reich.jpgThe only item worth looking at is the part of the report that predicts the government will have nearly a $1.6 trillion deficit in the fiscal year that ends this September 30 — but not because that number is alarmingly large. It strikes me as alarmingly small. I’d prefer the government run a larger deficit. With unemployment and underemployment still rising, consumers still pulling away from the malls, business investment still in the basement, and exports still dead, the federal government has to spend more — and the deficit has to be larger — in order to get people back to work.

by Robert Reich

This article first appeared on Robert Reich’s Blog. Republished with permission

About Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written eleven books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His articles have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine.

Reich has been a member of the faculties of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and of Brandeis University. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

Comments

  1. LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS says:

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    THIS OLD WORLD ORDER OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT OF OUR POORER AMERICANS NEEDS ENLIGHTENED POLITICAL MINDS AND HEARTS TO VIEW GOD DIFFERENTLY THEN $$$… NO MATTER WHAT THEIR POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION ???

    WHEN WILL OUR WEALTHY ELITE AMERICANS ABATE THEIR ASSAULT ON POORER AMERICANS WITH THEIR MONETARY CONTROL OF OUR IVORY TOWER U.S. CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER ???

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    TO STAY IN POLITICAL OFFICE IN AMERICA,ONE HAS TO BARTER YOUR VOTES IN CONGRESS AND REPRESENT POWER INTERESTS IN RETURN FOR THE BUCK$.

    POORER AMERICANS HAVE NEVER HAD THE $$$ LOBBY TO INFLUENCE THIS CORRUPT POLITICAL CONCEPT (of horse trading political votes for political contributions) TO ACHIEVE PROPER HEALTH ~CARE OR LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR ALL OUR MIDDLE ~ CLASS AND WORKING POOR AMERICANS.

    AMERICAN IVORY TOWER U.S.CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS OF THE FREE WORLD HAVE PASSED FEDERAL LEGISLATION IN WASHINGTON DC TO SPEND 50 BILLION AMERICAN TAX $$$ ON THE INTERNATIONAL FIGHT AGAINST AIDS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS WHILE THEIR OWN AMERICAN CITIZENS ARE BEING TOLD BY THIS SAME U.S.CONGRESS THAT NATIONAL HEALTH CARE AND PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR MIDDLE CLASS AND WORKING POOR CITIZENS IS UNAFFORDABLE.

    *** WEALTHY ELITE AMERICANS (WHO ARE ONLY 1% OF OUR USA POPULATION) SADLY ALSO CONTROL HOW OUR U.S.CONGRESS SPENDS THEIR BUDGET TRILLION$ AND HAVE OBVIOUSLY FOUND MORE WORTHY INTERNATIONAL CITIZENS THEN OUR OWN DESPERATE AND NEEDY POOR TO ASSIST !!!

    ~Poorer Americans Nationwide only get 400 million $$$ per year for legal representation allocated them by CONGRESS~

    Middle Class and Working Poor Americans are unable to afford proper legal representation in their Civil, Criminal and Family Courts of law all across America causing tremendous hardships nationwide,but these great minds and callous hearts in our American Congress have found others Worldwide more needy then their own citizens who are being falsely incarcerated,wrongfuly executed,losing their homes or apartments,losing child custody or visitation with their children etc…

    Not being afforded proper legal representation by our U.S. Congress has created a total breakdown of the American judicial system for our poorer Americans because the our U.S. Courts punish all of us little people if we are not assisted with proprer legal counsel.it is a known fact that our average Middle Class and Working Poor Americans without proper legal representation in all of our American Courts of law lose their legal cases to the better financed who are able to afford lawyers.

    Lawyers For Poor Americans is now actively in the hunt for International Countries and Leaders Worldwide to help raise 5 Billion Dollar$ for our slighted poorer Americans who have had their own American Congress turn their backs on their desperate needs in not affording them proper legal representation.

    Troy Davis and Mumia Abu – Jamal are 2 perfect examples of American citizens who never had proper legal representation afforded them by our U.S. Congressional Leaders Of The Free World in their initial criminal trials in (Georgia and Pennsylvania) who might very well have to pay the ultimate price of possibly being completely innocent and falsely executed in the near future.

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    Lawyers For Poor Americans has many other written articles that can be viewed with any www search engine by our name or our telephone number.

    Lawyers For Poor Americans is a www lobby group of volunteers that sing out about the decades old neglect,abuse and injustices being inflicted on our poorer Americans that have become Crimes Against Humanity issues for the International World Court to investigate.

    lawyersforpooreramericans@yahoo.com
    (424-247-2013)

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