The Spectacle Blog

Fiscal Crisis Denialism

By on 2.22.11 | 11:22AM

It's not surprising that the Obama administration would deny the Social Security crisis. Large portions of his base deny that the federal government faces any major budgetary problems at all, at least any that should be dealt  with on the spending rather than the tax side of the ledger in the near future. Consider this E.J. Dionne column:

Take five steps back and consider the nature of the political conversation in our nation's capital. You would never know that it's taking place at a moment when unemployment is still at 9 percent, when wages for so many people are stagnating at best, and when the United States faces unprecedented challenges to its economic dominance.

No, we are acting here as if the only real problem the United States confronts is the budget deficit; the only test of leadership is whether a president is willing to make big cuts in programs that protect the elderly; and the largest threat to our prosperity comes from public employees.

Dionne decries the discretionary spending cuts necessitated by the failure to control entitlement spending; writes as if proposals to reform entitlements are merely part of some plot to cut taxes for rich people; and that the Tea Party has simply "seized the political and media agenda and made budget cutting as fashionable as Justin Bieber was five minutes ago." The need to put the country on a sustainable fiscal path is just a passing fad, like Justin Bieber's haircut.

Obama is attempting a Clintonian parsing of the federal budget at a time when his party is to the left on Clinton on economics. The Clintonites told us we had the '90s economic boom because the 1993 tax increase on the wealthy increased revenues, reduced the deficit, lowered interest rates, and stimulated growth. Now liberals are back to the pre-Clinton practice of priming the pump.

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