Now all the big conservators of the empire who were so careful with our economic system during the Bush years are up in arms over the President’s admission that we’re going to be running a deficit as a nation for some time. All the usual suspects are running around yelling about it. They hate it, possibly because the money that’s needed is for something other than war.
I’m not going to get into a whole partisan thing here, even though it would be quite natural to do so. You know who runs the No Theater right now. I just find it semi-incredible that the very same guys who pop a cold sweat when their access to debt is threatened are so very, very upset that the country is forced to run pretty much the same way.
On the one hand, the issue of the moment is debt securitization. Gotta secure that debt. Gotta ramp up the red ink again so everybody can jump back into the growth stream. Know what the problem is right now? Not enough lending! On the other hand, what kind of irresponsible fools would suggest trillions in deficit spending in the public sector? That’s very bad. Every economist knows that. Oh, didn’t you hear? We’re listening to economists again.
Let’s see what that means. Corporate debt? Essential! Public debt? Deplorable.
If a corporation wants to purchase a company three times its size with debt, that’s just good business. Running a deficit to cut unemployment? Every economist (in our employ) knows that’s a no-no. Sure, we’re going to need bridges, roads and tunnels in the future. We’re going to need education and health care for people who don’t have it. We’re going to have to shore up the economy so that it doesn’t collapse again, sparing only the very, very rich from serious discomfort. But we have to do it without a big, ugly deficit, because… I forget why, but it’s true. The same way it’s obviously true that interest rates have to remain low, so that banks can now take my money and do what they want with it while at the same time paying me virtually nothing for that privilege. Like history, the rules of economics are generally written by the winners, even when they’re losers.
I have an idea. Let’s allow America to run like a real business for once, paying for the things it needs to do with money it has to secure from other sources. I figure when the time comes, the books will balance well enough. And if they don’t? At least we’ll have some homes, jobs, roads and schools to show for our folly.