Friday, January 25, 2013

Same Old Story

Paul Krugman points out that the deficit hawks who have been warning of imminent economic collapse for the last several years seem to be changing their tune slightly. This may be because their predictions have not happened, but also because they are losing some of their target audience, the general public. While they are still attracting like-minded folks to their cause, they are losing ground with more rational people, especially since their predictions have not come to pass.

Krugman points out that deficit issues were mostly a result of a bad economy, which resulted in lower tax revenue and higher demands on the unemployment programs. Now that unemployment is falling, more people are working, meaning higher revenues and less demand on unemployment programs, meaning spending on those programs has declined and our budgets are coming back to normal. While we're still higher than we should be, and we still need to work on deficit reduction in a large sense, the hysteria is by no means necessary anymore.

Of course, hysteria is a powerful political tool, and is unlikely to fade completely any time soon. I think it should, seeing as how there is ample evidence of what happens when deficit concerns turn into austerity solutions.

No comments: