I was planning an ordinary Post this morning, then I read this article. My first criticism of this excellent, well-thought article is no critique of it, but a condemnation of the Podesta/Ettlinger argument. Every discussion of the deficit would throw the entire effort of deficit reduction upon the next Administration, based on proclaimed economic dangers of the Present. It is a total Cop-Out. The deficit is Now, and reaction to it must be Now, or ineffective. I would further this argument with the Statement that Government Spending has little to do with the creation of Jobs, when deficit spending pulls as much Cash from the Markets as do high Taxes; along with an additional high amount dedicated to Debt service. It is not a question of the willingness of the Government to Spend, when the Private sector will not; the later seeing no opportunities for effective Investment under current economic trends, and Government expenditures as conducted has little to do with expansion of current business structures. We are basically wasting Money, which could be better used by paying off debt, and establishing long-term structure to increase Government efficiency.
I disagree with the Josh Bivens’ argument that budget deficits are beneficial to Jobs promotion and provision of welfare services. No Government program can be maintained permanently when based upon deficit spending. It will eventually have to be cut, both in expenditures and extension of benefits. No Government program should be passed at all, unless there is adequate provision of tax revenues to pay for that program. This may seem draconian to Some, but lack of such provision will lead automatically to the establishment of deficit spending as an institution. We have to start deficit reduction by organizing Government expenditure rules which cannot be violated. I like the Process where every Government program must be funded from some group of Taxes, and that automatic Surtax is added to this group of Taxes under deficit expenditure in the program; the percentage of the Tax determined by the need of revenue alone. The text of the law mandating this Process should be so tight, that the law would be implemented even in the midst of the Great Depression II.
I suggested a mandatory 32-hour Civil Service Workweek yesterday on this blog. I like this action immensely, thinking it provides far increased Job creation over any other measures proposed. It first requires a limitation of Civil Service benefits allowed, and should be mandatory at all levels of Government–Local, State, and federal. The law, to have force, should prohibit any form of Overtime Pay, though extension of Good Time additional Vacation Pay would add to the effect of the law by extending Vacations drastically. The law should reduce Civil Service benefits to equate with Private sector extension of benefits–with a permanent Commission created to determine statistical equality. I would also create an Efficiency Commission, which would specifically list ‘Bang for the Buck’ equalities for Government expenditures; which must be published annually, and will be a great help to both Economists and Politicians in decisions relating to legislative Voting. It is exactly this type of overall supervision which will eventually bring Changes to a political system too dependent on graft and corruption. lgl