The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


November 17, 2012

Brinkmanship at the edge of the fiscal cliff


And since every dollar in the Treasury is one that would always be better allocated by a private individual, it’s sane and rational to mount a fanatical ni shagu nazad last stand in defense of the Bush tax cuts, no matter the cost. Exhibit A: Last year’s Republican presidential primary debates, when all eight candidates flatly rejected a hypothetical deficit deal that would have offered $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.

In such a world, veterans who need health care; police, firefighters and teachers who’d like a living wage and pension; seniors who’d prefer not to be dragged out of their government-run nursing homes; and students who need federal loans to build a career fall into one category: “entitlement” seekers, all of whom should quit whining and tighten their belts.

Older Republican readers might remember a more rational era before their party donned this ideological straightjacket. Tried and true demand-side economics, wherein a robust middle class with plenty of expendable income is the engine of economic growth, was once a staple of both major parties, before the GOP bought into what George H.W. Bush famously derided as “voodoo economics.”

In truth, the only real “job creator” in the history of human civilization is demand for goods and services. Demand has slipped in recent decades as the American middle class – the goose that lays the golden economic egg – has been squeezed, swindled, bilked and cheated out of most its expendable income. A budget solution that puts consumers first isn’t just a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of prudent fiscal policy.

JUSTIN VERNOLD is a copy editor at The Daily Star. Contact him at




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