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Paul Krugman: Hawks and Hypocrites, George Bush Accidently Vots for Obama [No Kidding]

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  • Ed Pearl
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/opinion/krugman-hawks-and-hypocrites.html? partner=rssnyt
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 12, 2012
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      Hawks and Hypocrites

      Paul Krugman:
      NY Times Op-Ed: 11/12/2012

      Back in 2010, self-styled deficit hawks - better described as deficit scolds
      - took over much of our political discourse. At a time of mass unemployment
      and record-low borrowing costs, a time when economic theory said we needed
      more, not less, deficit spending, the scolds convinced most of our political
      class that deficits rather than jobs should be our top economic priority.
      And now that the election is over, they're trying to pick up where they left

      They should be told to go away.

      It's not just the fact that the deficit scolds have been wrong about
      everything so far. Recent events have also demonstrated clearly what was
      already apparent to careful observers: the deficit-scold movement was never
      really about the deficit. Instead, it was about using deficit fears to shred
      the social safety net. And letting that happen wouldn't just be bad policy;
      it would be a betrayal of the Americans who just re-elected a
      health-reformer president and voted in some of the most progressive senators

      About the hypocrisy of the hawks: as I said, it has been evident for years.
      Consider the early-2011 award for "fiscal responsibility" that three of the
      leading deficit-scold organizations gave to none other than Paul Ryan. Then
      as now, Mr. Ryan's alleged plans to reduce the deficit were obvious
      flimflam, since he was proposing huge tax cuts for the wealthy and
      corporations while refusing to specify how these cuts would be offset. But
      in the eyes of the deficit scolds, his plan to dismantle Medicare and his
      savage cuts to Medicaid apparently qualified him as a fiscal icon.

      And how did the deficit scolds react when Mitt Romney served up similar
      flimflam, with Mr. Ryan as his running mate? Well, the Peter G. Peterson
      Foundation is deficit-scold central; Peterson funding lies behind much of
      the movement. Sure enough, David Walker, the foundation's former C.E.O. and
      arguably the most visible deficit scold in America, endorsed the Romney/Ryan

      And then there's the matter of the "fiscal cliff."

      Contrary to the way it's often portrayed, the looming prospect of spending
      cuts and tax increases isn't a fiscal crisis. It is, instead, a political
      crisis brought on by the G.O.P.'s attempt to take the economy hostage. And
      just to be clear, the danger for next year is not that the deficit will be
      too large but that it will be too small, and hence plunge America back into

      Deficit scolds are having a hard time with this issue. How can they warn us
      not to go over the fiscal cliff without seeming to contradict their own
      rhetoric about the evils of deficits?

      This wouldn't be hard if they had been making a more honest case on the
      budget: the truth is that deficits are actually a good thing when the
      economy is deeply depressed, so deficit reduction should wait until the
      economy is stronger. As John Maynard Keynes said three-quarters of a century
      ago, "The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity." But since
      the deficit scolds have in fact been demanding that we make deficits the
      priority even when the economy is depressed, they can't go there.

      So what we get instead, for example in a white paper on the fiscal cliff
      from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, is a garbled set of
      complaints: The adjustment is too fast (why?), or it's the wrong kind of
      deficit reduction, for reasons not made clear. Or maybe they are made clear,
      after all. For even as it rails against deficits, the white paper argues
      against raising tax rates and even suggests cutting them.

      So the deficit scolds, while posing as the nation's noble fiscal defenders,
      have in practice shown themselves both hypocritical and incoherent. They
      don't deserve to have a central role in policy discussion; they really don't
      even deserve a seat at the table. And they certainly don't deserve to have
      one of their own appointed as Treasury secretary.

      I don't know how seriously to take the buzz about appointing Erskine Bowles
      to replace Timothy Geithner. But in case there's any reality to it, let's
      recall his record. Mr. Bowles, like others in the deficit-scold community,
      has indulged in scare tactics, warning of an imminent fiscal crisis that
      keeps not coming. Meanwhile, the report he co-wrote was supposed to be
      focused on deficit reduction - yet, true to form, it called for lower rather
      than higher tax rates, and as a "guiding principle" no less. Appointing him,
      or anyone like him, would be both a bad idea and a slap in the face to the
      people who returned President Obama to office.

      Look, we should be having a serious discussion about America's fiscal
      future. But a serious discussion is exactly what we haven't been having
      these past couple years - because the discourse was hijacked by the wrong
      people, with the wrong agenda. Let's show them the door.

      * * *

      From: AmeriConscience@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 5:54 AM
      To: AmeriConscience@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [AmeriConscience] Digest Number 4855

      Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:45 pm (PST) . Posted by:

      es%20For%20Obama> "Romi Elnagar" bluesapphire48

      A cheery story to brighten your day...

      Election 2012
      George Bush Accidently Votes For Obama
      Nov. 06, 2012
      Former U.S. president George W. Bushaccidentally voted for Barack Obama
      today at a polling place near his Crawford, TX home.
      According to local reports, the two-term Republican was confused by the
      instructions on his electronic voting machine and mistakenly cast a ballot
      he intended to discard.
      Witnesses say Bush argued with poll workers for several minutes afterwards
      in a effort to redo his vote, but in accordance with state law they
      ultimately denied his request.
      The embarrassing incident may have gone unnoticed if it weren't for a local
      newspaper reporter who happened to be voting in the next booth. Suzanna
      Everett, a politics correspondent for the Waco Timeswitnessed the entire
      ordeal and crafted a cunning scheme to make it public.
      Left On Red
      Barred by ethics rules from using knowledge gained within a polling station,
      Everett waited for Bush to leave the facility and ambushed him with a trick
      question designed to fool him into revealing the news himself:
      "Mr. President Fox Newsis reporting that you've accidentally voted for
      Barack Obama. Would you care to comment?"
      Thinking that his mistake had already been found out, Bush sought to
      minimize the damage:
      "Yes unfortunately because of the incompetence of the folks who designed the
      ballot, my vote counted for the other guy," Bush responded. He then
      attempted to explain exactly how the mishap occurred:
      "First of all, everything was very mismaladjusted on the screen. You
      shouldn't put the senators and the congresspeople and the presidents all
      jumbled together like that. It's too crowded. Just confuses folks."
      Bush then explained that after marking the wrong candidate, he sought to
      correct his error by clicking the red "Cast Ballot" button, thinking that it
      was designed to 'cast away' the ballot and bring up a fresh one:
      "Usually red means stop and green means go. I thought I was stopping

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