Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Debt Crisis at our Doorstep

The Debt Crisis at our Doorstep

In an op-ed piece of March 28, 2018 [The Debt Crisis at our Doorstep] the Washington Post published an opinion signed by five senior fellows and economists from the Hoover Institution. The worry, correctly, that 2018 federal spending will be billions and billions more than the taxes that can be collected now that the Republican Congress made steep cuts to corporate and personal income taxes. The need to borrow to make up the losses will certainly raise interest rates as they predict. Sharply higher interest rates will bring us a recession.

Then they tell us “Congress must reform and restrain the growth of entitlement programs and adopt further pro-growth tax and regulatory policies.” They ignore that Obama, and Clinton before him, delivered well performing, stable economies to the Republicans that included a responsible balance of taxing and spending in both 2001 and 2017. They ignore that America has deficits because the rich won’t pay taxes or take responsibility for the larger society. They ignore that Republicans conducted a two-year 2008-2010 depression when their gamble on Collateralized Debt Obligations failed. Now they’re poised to do it again.

Appropriate taxation can solve America’s deficit problems; piling on policies promoting yet more income inequality will not. I remind the five Hooverites - Michael J Boskin, John F. Cogan, George P. Shultz and John B Taylor – millions of households live exclusively on the Social Security benefits and millions of others get by with low interest credit cards and help from government programs that supplement their life on low wages and long hours. No such “entitlements” were in place during the great depression of the 1930’s. Maybe they’d like to do that again.

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