Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Can we have some economic honesty?

The budget has gone from surplus under Bill Clinton to deficits of "$162 billion in fiscal 2007 to $455 billion in fiscal 2008, [and] could skyrocket to $1.2 trillion or maybe even $2 trillion in the current fiscal year."

The prescription (written by everyone who got us into this mess in the first place): The "financial fix will require [massive] spending". Plus, we will still proceed with "permanent changes that would add to future deficits, such as tax cuts or new spending programs."

And, how are we going to pay for all this? With those old standbys, "cut out wasteful spending", "maintain fiscal discipline" and "budget reform". "As an example . . . [cut] a program that paid $49 million in subsidies over four years to farmers who already were making more than $2.5 million a year each."

The plan is to offset trillions - - trillions - - of dollars in deficits with cuts such as "$49 million in subsidies over four years"?

Wouldn't a little honesty help restore confidence in the markets and the economy, and give people a firmer foundation upon which to base their economic plans? The primary problem now is uncertainty. No one will invest today until they know what the rules will be tomorrow.

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