06 June 2011

Demagoguery and the National Debt

The American national debt and what to do about it is an issue at the center of public discussion. In a commentary recently published on The Hill, former senator, Judd Gregg, notes:

...Some have tried to step into the waters of responsible action only to be confronted with the demagoguery of those who make a profession of poisoning wells.

How do we separate demagoguery on the debt issue from the demagoguery of the debt issue?

America has had a national debt since forever and we've learned to live with it. In fact, we've learned to love it. US Treasury securities are a good basis for a savings program. Now come the Conservatives hoping to use the national debt to advance their flagging political fortunes.

Conservative bungling of public policy created the dire economic straits of America today and they're hoping to divert attention from the consequences, a lack of jobs, to something else. The national debt fills the bill. Never mind that they created a good portion of the national debt, especially that portion accruing in recent years, with their tax cuts for the rich and foreign wars. They're acting as if they were the fiscal saviors of America and they're doing it with simplistic policy proposals and utter nonsense.

Spending and tax cuts sound good to the guy who doesn't understand much about macro economics. He knows he can't spend money he doesn't have and can't borrow. That guy can be scared into believing Conservative schemes to serve the plutocracy serve his interests, too, and that's how demagoguery works. Find something which evokes a deeply emotional response and use the response to serve your interest. Conservatives are good at it. They do it with race, immigration, sexual orientation and a host of other things.

Don't believe it.

The debt is manageable and not with the draconian budget and tax slashing the Conservatives are demanding. Instead of listening to the likes of Judd Gregg, stick to the fundamentals. Let Congress "provide for the general welfare" with good faith debating of the issues which really affect the American People and funding action on them with the best means available, taxing or borrowing, just as the Founders intended. We don't need to focus on the funding method just because the Conservatives think it will get them a few votes.

1 comment:

  1. If there are spending cuts, the already fragile economy will take a hit. This is what the conservatives want. In order to tackle the national debt, the tax rates on the wealthy will have to go back to the Clinton era.

    No Republican would dare raise taxes, since they have all signed the Grover Norquist Pledge that even considers ending subsidies for things like big oil, or closing loopholes a tax increase.

    The problem is not the debt, or the spending, it is the refusal to look at ending the Bush Tax cuts, which got us here to begin with.