December 13, 2013
How Paul Ryan Won the Budget War: In 1 Chart

The budget wars are over, and the austerians won.
They won despite being wrong about everything. We aren’t Greece. Austerity doesn’t help the economy grow. The bond vigilantes aren’t coming for us if we don’t cut Social Security. And there’s no magic debt tipping point, above which growth disappears. No really, there isn’t.
But they still won. They won because counter-cyclical fiscal policy is counter-intuitive. Because it’s easier to convince people the government needs to act like a household and tighten its belt now, rather than loosen it. And because there’s nothing Washington’s professional “centrist” class loves more than a bipartisan deficit deal—preferably one that cuts Social Security and Medicare. As Ezra Klein points out, deficit reduction is the one thing that ostensibly neutral reporters can, and do, cheer for. As far as official Washington is concerned, it’s beyond argument that balancing the nation’s books is always good.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How Paul Ryan Won the Budget War: In 1 Chart

The budget wars are over, and the austerians won.

They won despite being wrong about everything. We aren’t Greece. Austerity doesn’t help the economy grow. The bond vigilantes aren’t coming for us if we don’t cut Social Security. And there’s no magic debt tipping point, above which growth disappears. No really, there isn’t.

But they still won. They won because counter-cyclical fiscal policy is counter-intuitive. Because it’s easier to convince people the government needs to act like a household and tighten its belt now, rather than loosen it. And because there’s nothing Washington’s professional “centrist” class loves more than a bipartisan deficit deal—preferably one that cuts Social Security and Medicare. As Ezra Klein points out, deficit reduction is the one thing that ostensibly neutral reporters can, and do, cheer for. As far as official Washington is concerned, it’s beyond argument that balancing the nation’s books is always good.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

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