Are We Heading Into an Economic Meltdown?

There is an interesting economics column in the Wall Street Journal on the similarities between the Greek meltdown and our own fiscal policies. I have long been a critic of the wild spending of both Congress and President Obama, including the recent proposal to simply pay for an over $200 million short-range missile program for Israel (here). This article discusses the possible disaster awaiting the United States as our leaders blissfully assume that a recovering economy will pay for their various programs and pet projects.

The column questions the logic of being able to tax their way out of this deficit. While I am socially liberal, I tend to be fiscally conservative and I find the current situation extremely alarming.

This article is interesting for its proposition that higher taxes are not able to close such a gap:

The feds assume a relationship between the economy and tax revenue that is divorced from reality. Six decades of history have established one far-reaching fact that needs to be built into fiscal calculations: Increases in federal tax rates, particularly if targeted at the higher brackets, produce no additional revenue. For politicians this is truly an inconvenient truth.

This is a different take on the problem. I have always been skeptical of the “spend out way out of the crisis” approach — which is an awfully convenient theory for members who are always inclined to spend more and put off payments to the future. Once back in power, the Democrats seemed to immediately fulfill a stereotype of higher spending and immediately turning to higher taxes as the solution. This is precisely the course that led to the last Republican takeover of Congress. In their defense, Democrats faced a crisis left to them by the Republicans and particularly George Bush who was one of the greatest spendthrifts in our history. However, they have shown no serious commitment to tackle these dire economic forecasts — gushing money in Iraq and Afghanistan while watching cities and states shutting down basic programs. Our debt is now growing at a record pace — roughly $5 billion a day (here).

This is not to excuse the Republicans who, under Bush, showed no restraint and left Obama with a massive debt. I simply have little faith in our current economic policies or a sense that leaders are seriously addressing the growing threat to the nation from our growing debt. Various countries have raised alarm over our debt and the similarities to the Greek meltdown, here.

For the column, click here.

223 thoughts on “Are We Heading Into an Economic Meltdown?”

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  2. There is no point in arguing that point, ONLY the government can withstand shocks to the system, ONLY the government can raise taxes to cover their deficits. If Greece is failing, it is because of financial mismanagement or promising something it cannot deliver. A break-even enterprise charges just enough to pay its expenses.

    Obviously making a promise of unlimited X without making the simultaneous promise of unlimited TAX is not “breaking even,” it is running at a loss.

    Besides, who said ANYTHING about a safety net? My theory of government is to prevent coercion, discrimination, exploitation and unfairness. If we are all starving, then starving is fair. If we are all working 12 hours a day, then working 12 hours a day is fair. It is equitable. Greece has made guarantees of profits to citizens that it cannot keep. That is not a failure of break-even enterprise, it is a parental approach to government, which I despise. We are not chidren, and we do not take our orders from government. We agree to abide by the laws, but that is different from being told our chores or when to go to bed.

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