We had a “tea party” in 2010. We are facing a historic worldwide economic depression that is under the pressure of monstrous sovereign debt and much worse unfunded liabilities. And yet we still can’t get Republicans in the White House to deal with reality.
“Former Republican vice presidential nominee and Congressman Paul Ryan told NBC’s Meet the Press January 27 that the Republican ideas for spending cuts on social welfare programs would have increased the Food Stamp program by 260 percent over a decade, instead of the Democrats’ 270 percent.”
So that’s it? That’s the kind of difference that is going to save the United States? Ryan says outright that we are facing an impending debt crisis. But how can Ryan say this and still act as if massive increases in welfare spending, or “protecting defense,” are really going to avoid the path to the debt crisis?
Ryan was responding to the accusation that he was proposing “savage cuts” in welfare spending. If we really are facing a debt crisis, then why shouldn’t he boast in it? Why not say: “Tell me, David, how well off do you think the elderly and the poorest members of society are going to be when we have food riots in the streets?”
We are living in dire times. No one can say for sure when a collapse will happen, or to what extents collapses will come in stages, or if the fall will come in one gigantic implosion. But we are on the edge of the knife. It was telling that, David Gregory labeled Paul Krugman a Left wing economist, acknowledging that many “centrists” agreed with Ryan’s concerns. But David Gregory demanded that Ryan answer to Krugman’s accusations. Why? Krugman thinks that deficits are no problem. He thinks that wars are economic blessings. He expected Hurricane Katrina to stimulate economic growth.
By setting up Krugman as an authority to be answered, Gregory essentially acknowledged that the Obama Administration is following Krugman’s economics. While Ryan is warning of a debt crisis, Krugman is not worried about it at all.
This is what makes Ryan so unpersuasive, I think. On the one hand you have a group of people who literally believe they can go on increasing debt forever. They are gods who print their own money and create prosperity by doing so. Then on the other side you have a group that is warning of a coming debt catastrophe and saying we need to cut back on spending.
And yet these two sides have one thing in common: they both vote to increase spending. One may vote for a 260% increase instead of a 270% increase, but that doesn’t make them more look more reliable as guides for how to avoid the looming debt crisis.
The side that acts in accordance to their professed beliefs ends up looking more credible.