Opinion Fraudulence of the Fiscal Hawks

05:45  12 february  2018
05:45  12 february  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

Congress returns with just days to avoid shutdown

  Congress returns with just days to avoid shutdown GOP leaders are eyeing a six-week funding bill that would keep the government’s lights on until March 23.GOP leaders are eyeing a six-week funding bill that would keep the government's lights on until March 23. The measure could include sweeteners like funding for community health centers.

Opinion | Op-Ed Columnist. Fraudulence of the Fiscal Hawks . In other words, even at the peak of their deficit- hawk posturing, all Republicans really had to offer was redistribution from the poor to the rich.

How do we know Republicans were never sincere about the deficit? It was obvious, even at the time, to anyone who looked at their fiscal proposals. In other words, even at the peak of their deficit- hawk posturing, all Republicans really had to offer was redistribution from the poor to the rich.

a group of people posing for the camera: Republican congressmen holding copies of the 2013 budget proposal by Representative Paul Ryan, then the House Budget Committee chairman, in March 2012. © Jose Luis Magana/Reuters Republican congressmen holding copies of the 2013 budget proposal by Representative Paul Ryan, then the House Budget Committee chairman, in March 2012.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

In 2011, House Republicans, led by Paul Ryan, issued a report full of dire warnings about the dangers of budget deficits. “The United States is facing a crushing burden of debt,” it declared, warning of a looming fiscal crisis that might soon “capsize” the economy. Citing the horrors of big deficits, Republicans refused to raise the federal debt ceiling, threatening to create financial turmoil and effectively blackmailing President Barack Obama into cutting spending on domestic programs.

Opinion: They Voted for Caps. Now They Want More Defense Spending

  Opinion: They Voted for Caps. Now They Want More Defense Spending President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address asked Congress to lift the “sequester cap” on defense spending. That same week, a bipartisan majority in the House, in a symbolic but important act, voted to reaffirm a cap-busting defense level for fiscal 2018. So the expectation is that defense spending will increase this year. Leave aside for a moment the increasingly embarrassing spectacle of a Congress unable to carry out one of its most basic constitutional tasks — appropriating money to fund the government — and consider what comes next. If the fiscal 2018 defense bill ever becomes law, how will the additional money be spent? Under current law, with the sequester caps in place, base defense spen

Doesn’t Realize He’s Messing With 20 Year Veteran of the Force.

Blockchain Stocks Are Next! “…pretending to care about the deficit served several useful political purposes”: Fraudulence of the Fiscal Hawks , by Paul Krugman, NY Times: In 2011, House Republicans, led by Paul Ryan

How big were these horrifying deficits? In the 2012 fiscal year the federal deficit was $1.09 trillion. Much of this deficit, however, was a direct result of a depressed economy, which held down revenues and increased outlays on unemployment benefits and other safety-net programs. The deficit fell rapidly over the next few years as the economy recovered.

This week Republicans, having just enacted a huge tax cut, cheerfully agreed to a budget deal that, according to independent experts, will push next year’s deficit up to around $1.15 trillion — bigger than in 2012. True, this won’t quite match 2012’s red ink as a percentage of G.D.P.; but this time none of the deficit will be a result of a depressed economy.

Sign up for the Morning Briefing newsletter

Republican agenda clouded by division

  Republican agenda clouded by division Republicans are divided over transportation, immigration and spending coming out of a retreat in West Virginia, clouding the prospect of legislative progress in 2018. GOP leaders at the retreat focused on the accomplishments of last year more than the divisive issues in front of them as they hope to rally the rank-and-file members ahead of primary season and the November general election."Nothing's going to get done this year," acknowledged a senior Republican aide, noting divisions over President Trump's proposed $1.5 trillion infrastructure package and immigration.

Add your own news or video to us! The more news we see, the more accurate the picture of the day our users receive. You are the media!

But while fiscal stimulus to restore economic growth has merit, staggering deficits in the ninth year of a recovery, with unemployment down to 4.1 percent, make no sense. Fraudulence of the Fiscal Hawks FEB.

Wait, it gets worse. In 2012 there were strong economic reasons to run budget deficits. The economy was still suffering the aftereffects of the 2008 financial crisis. Unemployment was around 8 percent. And the Federal Reserve, which normally takes the lead in fighting slumps, had very limited ammunition: It had already cut interest rates to zero, and its policy of “quantitative easing” — purchasing longer-term debt — was of questionable effectiveness. (And Ryan, among others, fiercely attacked the Fed’s efforts, which he claimed — wrongly — would “debase the currency.”)

The state of the economy in 2012 was exactly the kind of situation in which running budget deficits is actually a good thing, because they help sustain overall spending. By contrast, there is no comparable case for deficits now, with the economy near full employment and the Fed raising interest rates to head off potential inflation. (Maybe the Fed is moving too soon, but the contrast with 2012 is still extreme.)

The Republican Fiscal Stimulus Could Be Bigger Than Obama’s

  The Republican Fiscal Stimulus Could Be Bigger Than Obama’s Republicans are poised to pump in economic fuel while unemployment is low and wages are starting to rise, a combination that is stoking fears over inflation and deficits.WASHINGTON — Republicans are pouring government stimulus into a steadily strengthening economy, adding economic fuel at a moment when unemployment is at a 16-year low and wages are beginning to rise, a combination that is stoking fears of higher inflation and ballooning budget deficits.

Fraudulence of the Fiscal Hawks FEB. Related Coverage. Opinion Contributing Op-Ed Writer. The G.O.P. Is Flirting With Fiscal Disaster FEB. 9, 2018. Opinion Paul Krugman.

It wasn’t long ago that fiscal responsibility was a mainstream Republican rallying cry. This was not lost on Senator Rand Paul who briefly shut the government down Friday morning over spending increases. Fraudulence of the Fiscal Hawks FEB.

If anything, we should be using this time of relatively full employment to pay down debt, or at least reduce it relative to G.D.P. “The boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity at the Treasury,” wrote John Maynard Keynes. But Republicans have turned that sage advice on its head. They are providing more stimulus to an economy with 4 percent unemployment than they were willing to allow an economy with 8 percent unemployment.

There have been many “news analysis” pieces asking why Republicans have changed their views on deficit spending. But let’s be serious: Their views haven’t changed at all. They never really cared about debt and deficits; it was a fraud all along. All that has changed is the fact that a Republican now sits in the White House.

How do we know Republicans were never sincere about the deficit? It was obvious, even at the time, to anyone who looked at their fiscal proposals. These proposals always involved giant tax cuts for the wealthy — funny how that worked — offset by savage cuts in social benefits. Even so, assertions that deficits would go down depended entirely on assuming lots of revenue from closing unspecified loopholes and huge savings from cutting unspecified government programs. In other words, even at the peak of their deficit-hawk posturing, all Republicans really had to offer was redistribution from the poor to the rich.

Right revolts on budget deal

  Right revolts on budget deal House conservatives on Wednesday revolted against a massive bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling and bust spending caps, complaining that the GOP could no longer lay claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility. "I'm not only a 'no.' I'm a 'hell no,' " quipped Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), one of many members of the Tea Party-aligned Freedom Caucus who left a closed-door meeting of Republicans saying they would vote against the deal.It's a "Christmas tree on steroids," lamented one of the Freedom Caucus leaders, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.).

FOX NEWS FIRST: GOP fiscal hawks threaten plan to avert shutdown; Questions about Obama's role in FBI probes. GOP fiscal hawks slam budget 'monstrosity,' compare it to Obama's 'stimulus boondoggle'.

The Fraudulence of the Self-Proclaimed Fiscal Hawks . Paul Krugman, New York Times.

However, pretending to care about the deficit served several useful political purposes. It was a way to push for cuts in social programs. It was also a way to hobble Obama’s presidency.

And I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that there was an element of deliberate economic sabotage. After all, Republicans weren’t just vehemently opposed to fiscal stimulus; they were also vehemently opposed to monetary stimulus. Basically, they were against anything that might help the economy on President Obama’s watch.

Now Obama is gone, and suddenly deficits don’t matter.

But let me not just bash Republicans. Let me also bash their enablers — all those who were duped into believing their claims to be deficit hawks, or pretended to believe them in order to appear balanced and bipartisan. Such people did America a great disservice.

And they will continue to do a great disservice if they obscure what’s happening now. Please, let’s not talk about the wrongheadedness of fiscal policy — about imposing austerity in a depressed economy, then running up the deficit when we’re already near full employment — as a problem of “political dysfunction,” or assert that both parties are to blame. Democrats didn’t block stimulus when the economy needed it, or push a tax cut that will worsen inequality and explode the national debt.

No, this is all about Republican bad faith. Everything they said about budgets, every step of the way, was fraudulent. And nobody should believe anything they say now.

Follow me on Twitter (@PaulKrugman) and Facebook.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

Trump budget chief says he would oppose budget if he were in Congress .
The White House budget chief said on Tuesday that, if he were still a member of Congress, he "probably" would vote against a deficit-financed budget plan he and Trump are proposing. At a U.S. Senate panel hearing where he defended the administration's new $4.4-trillion, fiscal 2019 spending plan, Mick Mulvaney was asked if he would vote for it, if he were still a lawmaker, which he was before Trump hired him."I probably would have found enough shortcomings in this to vote against it," said Mulvaney, director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in reply to a senator's question.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!