I am getting ready to 'pack it in'. It's too hot sit in front of my PC screen much less use my fried brain. Blog Spot is making me go nuts. I had some cool Maxine cartoons on the economy and it won't let me download them. Too bad, because we all need a good laugh about now. Instead I will write a rant to relieve my pent up anger and depression.
I am not even close to being an economist or a politician. I'm just a simple citizen trying to figure out how Washington got so crazy. So here a few random thoughts that I have.
First, everyone knows that the budget and raising the debt limit should not be tied together. Who gains from this manufactured crisis? Well, maybe the very wealthy guys (Think Koch Brothers) who are pulling the strings of the Tea Party. Their goal is to break the unions, cut taxes and enhance their bloated bottom line even more. How can they do this? By tying those goals to something that must get passed, like the Debt Limit. They could never get Congress to pass the drastic cuts that benefit them unless they use extortion and that is exactly what they have accomplished. This was a very clever ruse on their part but in so doing, they may have killed the golden goose. When the country slips into depression they may wish they had not been so greedy.
Every one agrees that our country owes way too much money and that paying the interest on it is going to destroy us if we don't stop. So what's the problem? It is no secret that when you owe more than you are taking in you have few options. You can stop spending or you can make more money or a combination of the two. Fine as far as it goes. But here's the rub; a family can sit down with their budget and make a list. First comes fixed expenses like paying the mortgage, car payment, etc. Next come the variables like utilities and food. After you have cut as much as you can from the variable list you decide on how to spend any money that might be left over. If there is nothing left someone has to work at a second job so you can buy clothes, have an evening out or save for the kid's college. There is just so much that you can do.
While this may work for a family budget it gets much more complicated if it's a business or a government. The principle remains the same, but there are fewer things you can cut without destroying the business. And that's just what the conservatives don't understand. In the case of government, if you cut money from infrastructure, education, the safety net for the vulnerable you end up destroying the country with unintended consequences. There is just so much you can cut without raising the cost down the road for the very government you think you are saving. It is not necessary for me to point out what happens when you cut to the bone. Crime goes up. Poor people without jobs will rob or beg or take their anger out against the power structure that took away all hope. We will no longer lead the world in science and development with a poorly educated populace. And when you reduce the sick, elderly and uneducated to abject poverty it will cost more in a myriad of ways and the country that once was so great will have lost it's soul.
To me, the reasons that conservatives use to cut spending is simplistic in it's premise and stupid in it's achievement. All economists agree that when you are in a downturn you need to spend money to get the economy growing so people can find work. People with jobs pay taxes and that increases government income. They also buy things, thus increasing more revenue for businesses and, again, more income to the government in the form of taxes. People without jobs are a drain on the economy. Why is this so hard to understand?
It boils down to simple logic. The government will always have some debt and if it's citizens aren't working and paying taxes the debt will be much larger. The first priority should be to provide jobs. After that we can work on the debt. Sometimes even a government has to spend money to make money.