Milbank makes this statement:
Milbank in the Times wrote:
In reality, we eventually need both spending cuts and tax increases — and lots of them. But sacrifice will have to wait. In Washington, they’re still partying like there’s no tomorrow.
It seems like a wide swath of people believe this - and it is wrong. Lots of spending cuts means lots of economic contraction during a period where the economy doesn't need a kick in the head. Moreover, economic contraction increases government costs. Better to pay someone to build a bridge and keep them off of unemployment than pay a lessor amount to let them sit on their butt even if you need to borrow money to build that bridge. At the end, you have a bridge and a person contributing (both by making and by spending) rather than have nothing. The reality is that twelve years ago, we had a smaller economy, a more robust social safety net and we had a budget surplus. If you want to cut spending, slowly
reduce military spending back to the Clinton levels (pre-war levels), slowly
reduce the stimulus to what we had before the financial meltdown and slowly
raise taxes back to the Clinton levels. That's what we are doing today. The brutal spending cuts asked for on the far right and the sharp tax increases we hear discussed on the far left are recipes for disaster. The double whammy Milbank proposes is a recipe for a double decker disaster and almost exactly mirrors what we did in the 30's to bring on the Depression. It amazes me that we have an excellent example of running ourselves into the ground but we keep hearing how great a strategy it is. Washington is doing the exact right thing (going slowly and letting the economy and tax base recover) in the exact wrong way (by dithering and fighting instead of planned action.) The idea that we are on "the road to doom" is a lot more talk radio than reality. I'm a lot more worried that a significant portion of the US population cannot disagree with someone while respecting their opinion than I am about the budget being balanced.