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Deficit Witchhunt

The Great Deficit Witchhunt.

“‘The frame of the debate is between those who think the witches have taken over the entire community and the whole lot of them should be burned and those who think there are only a few witches and burning just a few of them would be enough to appease the demons,’ said James Galbraith, the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government at the University of Texas. ‘There are a few of us operating safely removed from the bonfires who maintain there is no such thing as witchcraft.‘”

As more troubling details emerge about its funding and backers, and as commission member Andy Stern, late of SEIU, settles into a troubling Lanny Davis-ishthose fringe liberals are ruining everything” mode, The Huffington Post‘s Sam Stein reports in on the early doings of Obama’s deficit commission.I went over my thoughts on deficits and this commission in my SotU post a few months ago, but to repeat myself:..

On deficits: “We know exactly what happens when you cut spending too quickly after a virulent recession — It was called the 1937 Roosevelt recession, and it would be flagrantly idiotic to repeat it. Just because the GOP doesn’t seem to understand basic Keynesian economics doesn’t mean we should follow them down the rabbit hole of flat-earth thinking, just so we can look bipartisan…[Besides, p]eople were not looking to President Obama for this sort of deficit tsk-tsking and small-bore, fiddling around the margins.

On this commission: “It’s clear to everyone involved that the entire point of this commission is CYA: i.e, to create political cover for raids on entitlement spending, while once again ignoring the grotesquely swollen defense budget…In other words, this commission will basically just be a chance for deficit peacocks to pretend they’re Serious People and ‘make tough decisions,’ while in fact the one really tough idea that actually needs to be tackled — reining in defense spending — will be completely avoided.

What I said then still stands. At best, this commission always sounded to me like centrist kabuki theater for deficit peacocks, and, given what we’re learning about some of its backers, it could end up being much, much worse.

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