Monday, June 6, 2011

Lying And Lunacy As The Economy Tanks

Eric Alterman recently wrote about the willful ignorance of a large swath of the Republican Party.  Rick Perlstein put it somewhat differently:  They are liars.  Either way, together with feckless Democrats and a complicit media, the consequences are dire.

As Alterman contends, the lying and lunacy of the Republicans serve "as a smoke screen for a conservative class war against the poor and middle class."  Thus, whatever the state of the economy, Republicans insist on deep cuts to social spending in order to attain their goals of shrinking the federal government and crushing liberal institutions.  They hammer on the long-term deficit as the greatest danger to an economic recovery and, lo and behold, it becomes "conventional wisdom," as Paul Krugman says, "that the deficit, not unemployment, [is] Public Enemy No. 1 — a conventional wisdom both reflected in and reinforced by a dramatic shift in news coverage away from unemployment and toward deficit concerns."

As Robert Reich contends, "the Republican lie that the nation’s long-term budget deficit is responsible for high unemployment would be laughable if it weren’t so tragically irrelevant to the current situation."  Reich warns that we may be heading for a double dip recession.  He urges Washington to immediately attack the problem of jobs and wages and stop the "monumental distraction of the games being played over the debt ceiling and long-term budget deficit."   

Republicans, of course, perpetuate such distractions, and call for more spending cuts.  All too predictably, they blame the poor jobs report that was just released on the Obama Administration's over-taxing, over-regulating and over-spending.”  This makes no economic sense but that won't stop them from saying it or the media from reporting it -- or the Democrats from meeting them halfway.   However, as Jed Lewison argues, what is needed is not more cuts but more stimulus:  "The Obama administration needs to repeatedly and loudly make the case for investing in America, lest they end up getting blamed for the GOP's foolish budget austerity."


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