Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When did the deficit become America's biggest problem?

This can be pinpointed: the deficit became America's biggest problem on the afternoon of January 20, 2009.

Before the moment--in the eyes of the Republican Party, its think tanks, its pundits, its talk show hosts, and everyone who voted for George Bush II in 2004--the deficit was no big woop. Remember what the #2 ranking Republican official said in the years when two wars and the biggest Valentine-made-o-money gift to the Richest Americans in a century was made?

But on January 20, 2009, a Democratic President was sworn in (or on the next day if you want to be a stickler about it)--and was handed the multi-trillion-dollar tab for the previous eight years. Then and only then did the deficit miraculously become a problem.

This isn't just ancient history, though the Republican Ministry of Propaganda would make it so. It means that on January 20, 2013, when/if President Romney is sworn in, the deficit won't cease to matter--it will remain a huge issue when it comes to taking from the poor--but it will cease to matter when it comes to giving to the rich.

None of this says anything one way or another about what sorts of stewards of the economy a Democratic House+Senate+Executive would be be.

But that's not in the offing. Our November choice will be between a Republican-controlled Congress and Judiciary in either case plus a Democratic President or a Republican president.

And the Republican contender has already promised a deficit-packed future.

He says the opposite, of course. Republican contenders always do, don't they? But he endorses the Ryan Budget without reservations. Look at any reputable economist's analysis of that budget--not the ones done by the Party's hirelings. Cuts to the social safety net alone won't start to close the gap. And even more tax cuts for the richest will increase it in fact. Both parties must sacrifice things that party holds dear, and neither party has proven able to fact this truth when they were in power across the board.

Presidents can't make laws. But they can veto them. An Obama second term would be a term of the veto pen, and given the Republican Party's fiscal profligacy, and given Romney's promise to be Congress's poodle, only an Obama second term gives us a prayer of reducing the deficit. 

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