The Norman Transcript

Letters

September 7, 2013

Let’s hear the truth about our nation’s deficit

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

So much has been written lately about the nation’s deficit, it’s hard to keep up with the truth.

Much of the discussion is pretty irrational, with so-called authorities repeatedly insisting that the country is headed down the path to ruin unless the U.S. reduces its extravagant government spending.

When asked, the average person agrees with the doomsayers, but most people are unusually misinformed about the nation’s deficit. For example, a survey done in 1996 asked voters whether the budget deficit had gone up or down under Bill Clinton. The deficit had decreased sharply, but a plurality (and a majority of Republicans) replied that it had gone up.

A similar thing occurred this year. In a survey conducted through Google, a majority said the nation’s deficit had increased, with 40 percent saying a lot. Only 12 percent correctly answered that it had gone down. The federal deficit has actually declined for the past four years in a row.

Well, voters are frequently unaware of what’s happening at the nation’s Capitol. So what’s the real harm, you might say. Falsehoods, especially those repeated enough, can persuade politicians to push for inappropriate, if not downright harmful, policies.

In this case, the conventional but detrimental remedy is to cut federal spending.

But reducing government expenditures is precisely the wrong policy when the nation is still slowly recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s. Consider what’s going on in Europe right now. The policy of austerity has been a disaster.

Still, Republicans continue to press for all kinds of counter-productive policies — e.g., the sequester or debt-ceiling votes. And why not? If the economy continues to improve only haltingly under Obama, so much the better for the GOP.

So what do we do?

Economist Paul Krugman and others of his persuasion are not optimistic. We can try to sort out the misinformation and falsehoods, but it’s not easy. Still, he said we must “keep pounding away at the truth ... and hope it breaks though.”

Pretty discouraging, all right.

David R. Morgan

Norman

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
  • League of Women Voters meeting

    Editor, The Transcript: On Saturday, May 10, the Norman League of Women Voters will hold its annual meeting at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, 601 24th Ave. SW, Norman, OK, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm....

    April 12, 2014

  • Frackers should use gray water

    Editor, The Transcript: As reported by Joe Wertz in the March 31 issue of StateImpact Oklahoma, Finley Resources, a Texas-based oil drilling company, has arranged with the city of Norman to buy Norman’s drinking water from hydrants to use ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Columnists have it wrong

    Editor, The Transcript: I typically enjoy Class Act (the Q&A with school counselors published on Fridays) very much. I think they bring a rational and empathetic response to parents’ concerns when it comes to the challenges students and ...

    April 8, 2014

  • An unfortunate response

    Editor, The Transcript: On April 1, the citizens of Norman voted to approve the renewed PSST and to make it permanent by a narrow margin of 3,798 for versus 3,660 against. As a result of this vote, Mayor Rosenthal stated in The Norman ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Apathy and lack of understanding may doom universal health care

    Editor, The Transcript: Enrollments in the federal and state health exchanges were higher than expected and late enrollments are expected, yet people still contend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not going to be successful....

    April 6, 2014

  • The Medieval Fair as a measure of human progress

    Editor, The Transcript: This upcoming weekend we are invited to “Step back in time for a day of revels at the Medieval Fair. Enjoy mirth and merriment with kings, queens, knights and fools as the kingdom comes alive.” It’s an opportunity ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Acts of kindness still alive

    Editor, The Transcript: Random acts of kindness may be an overused phrase, but when kindnesses happen to your family, it is great to know it is alive and well....

    April 4, 2014

  • Property tax increase needed

    Editor, The Transcript: Household and government budgets are necessary to keep spending on track. Voters’ choices can determine the direction of budget cuts and adjustments. Always vote smart....

    April 2, 2014

  • What a friendly city, community

    Editor, The Transcript: A couple of weeks ago while traveling through Norman, my two small children and I had to make an unexpected stop in Norman to have our van repaired. Although we were “stranded” in a sense, I can’t think of a ...

    April 2, 2014

  • Public needs renewal

    Editor, The Transcript: As a professional first responder, I live each day knowing how critically important a sound public safety communications system is. In Norman, I have the privilege of serving with the great men and women of ...

    April 1, 2014

Video
Facebook