Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

‘Deficit Debate Driven by the Wealthy’

And another view on the upcoming election deals we need to worry about in addition to party agendas and deals. Doubling down on upward distribution of wealth remains the name of this game…it is hard enough to debate real budget issues without this party going on: Deficit debate driven by the wealthy, by Michael Hiltzik, […]

GOP deficit-reduction hype used in ideological "values" war?

by Linda Beale GOP deficit-reduction hype used in ideological “values” war?crossposted with Ataxingmatter There is concerted effort to portray Social Security as ruining the country by being a significant cause of the current deficit , and this is not accidental.  Social Security has been funded by payroll taxes that are supposed to be dedicated to […]

218 + 60 + 1….math of the budget deficit

To solve the deficit, the numbers add up – but not the votes Ezra Klein The sudden proliferation of deficit-reduction plans is a reminder that the deficit is, at its heart, a math problem. To get the budget into “primary balance” in 2015 – that’s wonk-speak for a balanced budget before interest payments, and it’s […]

WaPo (inaccurately?) reports "consensus forming" on deficit

by Linda Beale WaPo (inaccurately?) reports consensus forming on deficitcrossposted with Ataxingmatter The buildup in the corporate media supporting the corporatist wishlist on budgeting is growing.  First there was the clamor about the Bowles-Simpson road map to conquering the deficit–depicted as a reasonable, middle-of-the-road approach.  Bowles-Simpson is a neo-liberal/neo-conservative group of people with little understanding […]

Who’s saving where? An application of the 3 Sector Financial Balances Map

Dean Baker finds gaping holes in deficit hawk rhetoric using the simple accounting identity that national saving must equal the current account (S-I = CA). If the domestic private-sector’s desire to save is positive, then the only way for the public sector (i.e., government) to net save is for the economy as a whole to […]

Current fiscal deficit hawks…oops!

Projected growth in spending on the federal government’s big health and retirement programs–Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security–dominates the long-run budget outlook. If current policies continue, that spending is likely to grow significantly faster than the economy as a whole over the next few decades. By 2040, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects those outlays will […]

Why the Pelosi Rule MAY not be a sell-out on Social Security

by Bruce Webb There is a huge disturbance in the Force, at least as sensed by the Jedi of FireDogLake, Democratic Underground, AMERICAblog, and OpenLeft, which is to say among the Obama-skeptics of the Left. The substance is this, in a last minute move prior to adjournment Nancy Pelosi pushed through the rule for handling […]

How the Deficit Commission Painted Itself into Corner on Social Security

by Bruce Webb High on the list of tasks mandated of the Obama Deficit Commission is to get the deficit down to 3% of GDP by 2015. Unfortunately for them they have set up a situation where they can’t move that number via cuts to Social Security, if anything such cuts more one of their […]

Deficit Commission, CBO Scoring and the "Leninist Strategy" for Social Security Reform

by Bruce Webb I have had occasion before to mention the “Leninist Strategy” for Social Security put forth in 1983 and followed by Social Security ‘reformers’ ever since. The strategy has three main pillars: One: reassure current retirees that their benefits won’t be cutTwo: convince younger workers that left unreformed Social Security just won’t be […]

Billions for Bankers, Nothing for the Housing

Good Thing We Have Deficit Hawks in Congress: The tenants were all living low-rent under a program that’s beginning to expire – but had been promised they could still qualify for a federal Section 8 rent subsidy. But this week, when many of them began to show up at New York City Housing Authority offices, […]