The Reasoned Review

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Ezra Klein and the Deficit

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Ezra Klein gives us some of his famous Washington Post logic in a recent post regarding the deficit. He says:

I’ve got no problem with the White House making some real moves to cut the deficit. But the devil is in the details. It would be insane, for instance, to sharply cut spending in the midst of a recession. But it makes sense to build out policies to increase revenues in 2012 or after.

Similarly, there are good ways of decreasing the deficit and bad ways. Cutting Medicaid spending, for instance, would be a bad way. But I’d be glad to see the estate tax restored. Or relatively more of the Bush tax cuts left to expire. Obama should have the courage to say that the promise to avoid raising taxes on people making less than $250,000 was made before the economy collapsed, and that tax rates might have to rise in a couple of years.

His post, of course, begs the question: What about “defense” (war) spending? Would it also be “insane” to cut that in the midst of a recession? The question is not trivial; President Obama signed last month a $680 billion (680,000 million) defense bill while ludicrously lauding the fact that he happened to shave “tens of billions of dollars” from it.

Come to think of it, is it not equally “insane” to be spending such unthinkable sums on murder and deceit in Afghanistan “in the midst of a recession?” Klein, the Post’s resident wunderkind, has absolutely nothing to say on the matter. Instead, he waxes philosophical on the estate tax, and has the audacity to suggest that the middle class (those making less than $250,000 per annum) ought to pony up some more cash to relieve the deficit – which really means they should cough up some dough to fund these ill-conceived wars. I believe the phrase for this sort of logic is “missing the forest for the trees”.

“Economic and Domestic Policy, and lots of it” indeed!


Written by pavanvan

November 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm

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