These voices of reassurance don’t soothe me

This morning, there was an op-ed piece by Rand Paul (not Paul Ryan; the other one with very similar name and identical ideas) suggesting that we need not necessarily “wring our hands in despair at the possible fiscal cliff.”

Then later today, I get this from Gary Johnson, the guy who ran for president this year as a Libertarian:

Since the election, I’ve been able to spend some time at home in New Mexico, recharge my batteries a bit, and most important, watch what’s going on in Washington, DC – which is really nothing good.

Gary Johnson

The news is filled with stories about the “looming fiscal cliff”.  Of course, in Washington, their definition of a “cliff” is that government spending will be cut next year by slightly more than $100 billion – IF Congress and the President don’t come to an agreement to cut spending by LESS than that. With a $16 trillion debt and trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, only in Washington would cutting $100 billion be viewed as an impending disaster.

The real disaster – the real “fiscal cliff” – is the one we face if spending ISN’T cut by far more than $100 billion…  There are talking heads on TV saying, with a straight face, that cutting spending by a few small percentage points will devastate the economy. Where were those talking heads when the Democrats and Republicans were conspiring to run up an unsustainable $16 TRILLION national debt.  Who is pointing out the obvious:  That ridiculous levels of spending have already devastated the economy – and that the so-called fiscal cliff is a pothole compared to the real cliff that our Thelma and Louise government is driving us over.

And so forth. Somehow, I am not consoled by these assertions. Nor am I pacified when some of our friends on the left (and more libertarian elements of the right) say it’s just fine if military spending is eviscerated.

Call me wacky, but count me among those hoping that the Dems and Repubs will work out a way to avert this booby-trap they set during their last major failure to be reasonable on fiscal matters — you know, the one that let to the downgrade of the nation’s credit rating.

8 thoughts on “These voices of reassurance don’t soothe me

  1. bud

    Call me wacky, …

    I would but that would violate the civility policy. 🙂

    Not sure why it is so difficult to just look at evidence. 16,000,000,000,000 is a big number but as long as interest rates are low it’s not this impending apocalypse that is portrayed by the libertarians. Just stay calm, raise taxes a bit on the rich since they mostly save their huge wealth rather than spend like is needed to grow the economy; then spend like crazy until unemployment is at a normal level. Once unemployment hits 6% or so we can focus on reducing the debt like we did in the 90s. Simple as that.

  2. Brad

    No, Bud, you don’t mean “libertarians.” They’re the ones saying not to worry. That was kind of my point in this post.

    It’s us centrists, and the mainstreams of the two parties, who are freaking out.

  3. Doug Ross

    Define “eviscerated” in dollars. If it is, as Johnson suggests, a couple percentage points, then eviscerated is a hyperbole.

    Let’s see the facts. What was military spending this year and what will it be if we go off the fiscal speed bump?

    To suggest that a couple percentage point cuts in our military spending (which exceeds that of the next ten nations combined) is going to make us weaker is fallacy.

  4. Doug Ross


    By the time unemployment hits 6%, the debt will be even larger. You’re like the manufacturer who sells his product at a loss but will make it up on volume.

  5. Steve Gordy

    While there may be no need to freak out, there is plenty of cause for concern. We’ve forgotten what it takes to get halfway decent legislation: Bipartisan cooperation, plus adequate working time, as was the case with the tax reform in 1986. We have neither requisite in place today.

  6. Steven Davis II

    @Doug – Don’t forget to mention typically as volume goes up, quality goes down. So you spend less for lesser quality but you have many employed at minimum wage. Still not a plus for the economy.


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