Both politically and economically, it's absolutely idiotic for White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to float the idea of massive social spending cuts right now. If the Great Depression taught us anything, it is that slashing spending in the name of deficit reduction is a great way to exacerbate a bad economic situation. While Democrats may fear being tarred with the "tax and spend" label, they should fear even more being tarred with the charge that they aim to "Recreate '38."
That said, if we're going to have a debate over spending and deficits, let's at least have a debate about the real numbers. And as I point out in my new newspaper column out today, those numbers are being buried under an avalanche of misinformation.
Here we have so-called "budget hawks" screaming about a health care bill the Congressional Budget Office says will reduce the deficit by $109 billion over ten years. And here we have those same so-called "budget hawks" moving to pass a one-year $636 billion Pentagon spending bill that puts the Obama administration's first term on track to spend more on defense than any other single presidential term since World War II.
This what I've previously called classic Selective Deficit Disorder - and it's being exacerbated by Beltway journalism that distorts these numbers.
Read the column to see exactly what I'm talking about - it's really pernicious.
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