Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Memory Hole: Deficit Edition

While some lefty bloggers have noticed similarities between our punditry’s embrace of the Iraq invasion and the media’s current blind belief in right-wing “ZOMG the deficit is gonna kill us allll!” messaging, I’m taking a far less nuanced approach.

As the 2012 budget forces us all to go ‘round the hamster wheel for another insufferable bullshit national debate, I’d like to remind people of one thing: deficits don’t matter.

That wasn’t just Dick Cheney’s wishful thinking when trying to shove tax cuts for the uber-wealthy down our throats in the middle of wartime, that was a Weekly Standard column by none other than the august Irwin Seltzer, of the conservative Hudson Institute (Hudson is one of those places that preaches the glories of the free market and individual responsibility):
Which brings us to the economic level. The deficits that Bush ran up in the years in which the country was teetering on the verge of a serious recession had the beneficial effect of righting the economy. In that sense, deficits not only didn't matter, but were a force for economic good.

Yes, kids, once upon a time conservative thinkers actually believed that deficits not only didn’t matter, but that they were a “force for economic good.” Go on and read his column: his whole argument is that operating a deficit to right an economy in the recessionary doldrums is not just good, but essential (cue maniacal Dr. Strangelove grin).

Call me a cynic, but I have a feeling deficits really only matter based on which political party is having fun with the Chinese credit card. Maybe it's just me. But I can't help but laugh at the Republican hypocrites now calling for the fainting couches because Democrats--gasp!--want to cut the Pentagon's NASCAR sponsorship! This just proves what haters they are!

It is also a clear indication that Democrats think that the NASCAR voting bloc is not voting with them now or anytime in the future.

Yeah, I think when you start going down that road, you've conceded the argument. I mean gosh, it's not like PBS viewers are staunch Republicans, right? Isn't that what you're saying? That Obama's budget cuts are politically motivated? Thanks for playing.

We so easily forget our country’s history of just two months ago, when tax cuts for the wealthy were extended, let alone eight years ago, when the Bush Administration enacted the country’s first-ever tax cuts during wartime. For over 200 years we had paid for our wars, but Bush took the unprecedented approach that war could be paid for by future generations. Let that one sink in.

Conservatives cheered both moves, talking about how these things would stimulate the economy and ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Our media for the most part has acted blithely unaware of the hypocrisy at play beneath their noses. And what this should tell everyone, including our glorious media lapdogs who eat up every nugget of Republican messaging like it's filet mignon, is that these people are dishonest brokers. They really don’t give a shit about the national deficit, they just want their failed policies of tax cuts and deregulation and they will lie to anyone to see that this happens.

So please get a clue, already. Next time some Republican Congresscritter like John Boehner gets all teary-eyed about how the deficit is ruining this country, please ask them why they cheered the deficit six, seven, eight years ago. Please hold them to account. You just can't keep letting one political party hit the reset button as soon as they come into power, while still holding the Democrats to account for shit that happened 40 years ago.

In the meantime, another blogger points out that our budge debate should really be a healthcare debate, because that is where the money goes.