I Take Issue With Wisconsin State Journal Editorial On National Debt


We all understand that our nation’s fiscal affairs need some attention. Some serious attention. There is no one on any side of the political divide that will not agree that spending needs to be curtailed, and changes must be made to our tax policy. But there needs to be recognition of when action can take place, and what national priorities must be first established.

We can all agree that voices such as the editorial page of the Wisconsin State Journal are important when illuminating the need for fiscal discipline. But while honestly addressing the need for attention and action to be taken for debt relief, there also needs to be an understanding that government cutbacks during an anemic economic recovery is not sound policy.

While the WSJ did not suggest that deep cuts be made but only a slow-down in the rate of spending take place, the paper’s lack of making it clear that such cuts at this time would hinder the recovery is to me a glaring issue.

The first goal of our government at this time is not debt relief, but restoring jobs for the unemployed. So any cuts in government or by government at this time reduces spending on domestic goods and services which slows the economy and hurts our ability to recover. That means it is harder to create jobs.

If we can get our economy back to employment numbers which will allow for a healthy tax base to occur, in other words create an economy where our tax base grow faster than our debt, we will then be able to work for reasonable, and needed debt reform ideas.

While I am still all in favor of the Simpson-Bowles plan I am also mindful of not placing a debt relief plan ahead of steering employment out of the ditch and back onto the road. That must be our main goal at this time. If it takes more government spending to achieve that needed end, then that is what we should do.

I wish the WSJ would have made the same case today.

10 thoughts on “I Take Issue With Wisconsin State Journal Editorial On National Debt

  1. Man MKE

    Butt out of what, smokey3? Rescuing the economy? Even George W. Bush knew doing nothing would be very unwise after the economy tanked on his watch, which is why he pushed rescue measures before he left office. Oh, I remember now: If Republicans allow the government to help get people back to work, the economy might gather strength and then Obama might be re-elected, and that, as Mitch McConnell has implied, simply must not be allowed to happen. High unemployment is a good thing if you’re a Republican, so Republicans filibuster any bill that would do anything about that, even when inaction threatens a return to recession and risks a depression. Funny thing, though; in three years, the country has created more net jobs under Obama than it did under eight years of Bush, who also ran up most of the huge new deficits now placed at Obama’s doorstep.

  2. Patrick

    The first goal of the government at this time–or any other–is to secure the rights of the people. The Constitution says nothing about providing jobs, and you might be the only one left who actually believes government can play a constructive, active role in this regard. What has the government done to demonstrate it deserves more resources? My answer is very little, and therefore we should institute dramatic cuts and focus on paying down the debt until confidence can be restored.

    Aside from a military which is very good at blowing things up, which government branch or program could we look to to see success?

  3. Oh, dear. If only there were the right amount of money going to the right people then life for many would be better.Hooey.

    I guess we could build pyramids for Washington Pharaohs. Now that was government intervention!

    One cannot continue to create labor saving devices without ultimately ending up with excess labor. Productivity controls the recovery of this recession. One needs an increase of 25% in aggregate demand today before one needs to hire a new employee. Work is specialized and then automated to produce the most widgets (or services) possible by a single person. Ever wonder how many secretaries we would have now if the computer had not come along? Or how about those phone receptionists that were replaced by automated attendants? Pumping your own gas today, aren’t you?

    It is possible to save even more human labor with robots. How many people would you hire if you did not need people in your factories or your offices? Are you aware that most managers spend their day correcting problems that other people make at work? Imagine better robot workers 24 hours a day and see how many jobs are created by that. Zero.

    The rub is that people with money are needed to create a demand for services and goods. Some balance will occur eventually but it will not be pretty.

  4. Dale,

    We also would have a more vibrant economy (in time) if we had more engineers graduating from college instead of those who wanted to work moving money around and investing. We need to ecourage the same in science. There needs to be as much attention to these areas of our national economy as our major trading partners place into their futures.

  5. Patrick

    Without people moving the money around, there would be a lot less science and a lot less need for engineers. Who would ever employ an engineer if it wasn’t going to result in a great likelyhood of profit–and thus more need for people to move money around?

    “Investing” is what results in more money to “move around.” Profit. The reward for taking a risk on a new idea.

    Government, on the other hand, moves money inefficiently to old ideas. And by the way, some of the programs you mention are useful. Government likely is the best instrument to create a road, but it cannot create the road quickly or efficeintly. This was clearly evident when the government threw money at all those “shovel ready” projects.

    In every institution which has lost its way, there are some bright spots, but until people see some real reform they are not going to be interested in “investing” in inefficiency and an institution which is unable to recognize and change its path. This is why government needs to shrink, so that it can rediscover its purpose and mission. Add to this the very real possibility of financial disaster brought on by sickening deficits and demographic changes and you see how the WSJ story is one of denial.

  6. Craig

    Brain Drain: Certainly happens here in Door County. College grads have zero future here with no jobs and seek elsewhere for employment in say…engineering. So it’s off to ‘the big city, China, South Korea, Vietnam and other up-starts. Be mindful that by the third year, a four year engineer student is already obsolete.

    I part time work in a pharmacy assembling Home Medical Equipment, CPACs, wheel chairs, walkers, canes, ect that are manufactured in Vietnam. Even the $25,000 [our cost] electric wheel chairs which are exquisite examples of craftsmanship and function. None better.

    Remember that somewhere, somebody will do ‘your’ job as well or better then you for less. That’s called competition. Competition can’t be legislated, so step back and let her fly!

    skip.

  7. Craig

    Patrick says, “Government likely is the best instrument to create a road, but it cannot create the road quickly or efficiently. This was clearly evident when the government threw money at all those “shovel ready” projects.”

    As Mr. V.P. Joe Biden says, “To keep from going broke we need to spend more money.” WTF?

    No such thing as ‘shovel ready’ anything. I agree. Sure sounds good and generates votes, but it’s cow manure.

    And no need to build, buy, or create without a demand first. Then the financing, then the ‘build’, then the continual feeding until that demand is satisfied. Then shut the project down and fine another demand.

    skip.

  8. Craig

    “It is possible to save even more human labor with robots. How many people would you hire if you did not need people in your factories or your offices? Are you aware that most managers spend their day correcting problems that other people make at work? Imagine better robot workers 24 hours a day and see how many jobs are created by that. Zero.”

    So…with robotic surgery do the robotic doctors scream aloud when their office gets a letter telling them just how much pay they will be paid for a particular procedure?

    The worlds first fully robotic assembly, about 51 years ago, was IBM’s and they built their electric typewriters in this assemblyline.

    The latest is Ford Motor Company and they build the Ford Fusion in Brazil. Labor won’t allow Ford to build the same plant in Hamtramic, Michigan.

    But there is gong to be a ton of spin-off business for Brazil. Not to mention all that is required to build this plant, even if it doesn’t need too many people to run. And AND! Hamtramic would still receive some kind of tax.

    skip.

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