Speaking of prophetic truth, did any of you posters watch the PBS interview this evening with Greenspan? The man has grown from being a mere economist to the stature of a 21st-century Jeremiah.
He admitted that Bush’s tax cuts had been based on rosy projections of future revenue that were confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office. And he claims to have “learned” from the mistake (which the Republicans have now promised to repeat if elected) two things: (1) that it’s bad policy to borrow money in order to let the wealthy keep more of theirs; and (2) that it’s dangerous to put a policy in place without anticipating what might go wrong should your economic projections fail.
Most intriguing was Greenspan’s judgment about the alternative policies currently proposed by conservatives (mostly Republicans) and liberals (all Democrats). Applying his principle that a sensible policy should allow for the possibility of failure—-and assuming that neither party really has the political will to cut spending—-Greenspan said that the liberal policy of reducing the deficit by raising taxes, bad as it is, can at least be abandoned if the economy fails to recover.
On the other hand, the conservatives’ policy—-reduce taxes and make up for the lost revenue by more borrowing—-will be “catastrophic” should it fail (as it did under Bush II) to stimulate the economy. The public debt, already growing by a $trillion every year, is about to exceed our entire private worth, so that America may go bankrupt.
Greenspan made it soberingly clear that deficits matter, a truth that few credited before 2008 and that Republicans still don’t believe, with their vague promises to cut all spending EXCEPT for the 85% of the budget that comprises Social Security, Medicare, defense, and interest payments. (That leaves such unlikely items for elimination as veterans’ benefits, education, the NIH, Medicaid, and maintenance of our national parks and roads.)
Ps. @ Brian
“In the American system, the individual and the community grow together.” Je suis d’accord. I was merely pointing out that no individual “rights” (which by definition exclude the rest of the community from claiming an interest in the individual’s property or actions) are of force unless the community acknowledges them, or is required by the courts to acknowledge them .