Gov Deval Patrick Nails It

July 4th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I didn’t want to let this incisive oped by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick go by without a very firm salute.

Along with a pretty sharp reminder of what Democrats used to be about, Gov Patrick makes a point I’ve tried to stress about the ongoing budget dealings: the reason revenues need to be in the deal is because if the deal is cut solely by cutting spending, we do much more harm than good.

“If the deficit is reduced by spending cuts alone and there is no deal to raise the debt ceiling, here’s a sampling of what happens: We stop paying our soldiers or supporting our veterans. We stop feeding the neediest children and families. We stop providing nursing-home care to seniors. We stop inoculating schoolchildren. We stop helping young people go to college. The unemployed are on their own. Roads and bridges continue to crumble. And we jeopardize the creditworthiness of our economy at one of the most fragile moments in history. All to protect the marginal benefits of the most fortunate and the political purity of the radical right.”


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6 comments in reply to "Gov Deval Patrick Nails It"

  1. foosion says:

    >>if the deal is cut solely by cutting spending, we do much more harm than good.>>

    Any contraction at the point, whether by cutting spending or increasing taxes, does more harm than good. What we need is stimulus so long as unemployment is high.

    Cutting spending is worse than cutting taxes, as Christina Romer recently wrote in the NYT.

    Why should we be debating how much harm to do?

    That being said, less harm is better than more harm, and harm should be distributed fairly rather than in a manner which hits the most vulnerable hardest, as Gov Patrick so eloquently puts it.

  2. Robert O'Connor says:

    Regarding the debt ceiling faux issue, if you examine this section of the US Code – TITLE 31 – MONEY AND FINANCE § 5301, I believe you’ll find a cleaner way to bypass the debt ceiling limit.

    My non-legal interpretation of this code is that President Obama can declare a natioan emergency and instruct the Fed to create high-powered money by crediting the Treasury’s account at the Fed with adequate resources so that the government cam meet all of its legal obligations.

    The majority of the budget deficit is non-discretionary. Following the global financial crash in 2007, social spending sky-rocketed and tax revenues plunged. The costs of these so-called automatic stabilizers dwarfed the bailouts and the TARP package. Hence, why in the world are we having all this deficit hysteria? Nevertheless, the deficit deal-makers are on a tear to cut the deficit and possibly raise taxes. Those remedies are totally inappropriate for where the economy is right now. IMHO. anyone proposing budget cuts and/or tax increases should be prepared to announce the projected impacts on both the private sector and the foreign sector.

    • Steve Dorfman says:


      The issue is much less about adequate MONEY t pay debts than it is the ability to roll over debt…when the aggregate national debt after doing so is HIGHER than the current ceiling allowed by law.

      If the ceiling itself is contra the 14th amendment, at least in theory we have that aspect solved.

  3. Geoff Freedman says:

    Somehow, behind all this discussion is the belief that, as always, Republicans and Democrats will compromise based on some (percieved or otherwise)level of practicality.

    Democrats have attempted to compromise while Republicans it seems will not.

    The longer this debate goes on, the more it appears to be a pure clash of ideological (economic disciplines) points of view – conservative verus Keynesian.

    This all started when Reagan became president and the battle lines have become more pronounced and clearer as the years have rolled on. I have lived on California for the last 39 years, and I remember when Reagan became governor and he cut significantly the support for mental health. The result was a noticable increase in the homeless and it was painfull to see.

    Apparently Republicans are willing to put the full faith and credit
    of the United States on the line in support of this idealogy. I think that this is a manifestation of an extremely high level of anger and frustration on their part, but this will result in increasingly higher levels of conflict and confrontation.

    Right now the field is not level because democrats haven’t come to fully realize this; that Republicans are attempting to tear down and destroy the social institutions and safety nets that are in place today.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to take this up a notch and see this a form of Facism vs. a form of Socialism, or a kind of Middle Ages (God and assertions based on belief) vs. Renaissance (fact based reasoning) as Jared suggested a long time ago.

    All this is taking our attention off the need to create jobs.

    I believe or original stimulus package was too small and too narrow to be that effective. There were not enough strings attached in tne bank bailouts, and an underestimation of the severity of the crisis as a whole. Our underlying consumption model broke when the real estate market crashed and its not coming back to where it had been. Too little of the stimulus has been directed at long term growth and the structural issues of our economy at a time when huge deficits exist. If this sounds like something Joseph Stiglitz would say its because it is.

    This business of compromising as a way to fix our economy will not work and will produce much the same up and down effect that we had in the 1930’s. Plus our deficits are so high right now (thanks to Bush’s irresponsible policies of not paying for the wars his administartion started), that if we try to muddle through this we will run out of money before the problem is fixed.

  4. Khalid says:

    Most of what you’re warning about is intentional. The purpose of the deficit hysteria is to eliminate as much as possible New Deal-type programs and the thinking associated with them. It is clearly the goal to prevent the government from “feeding the neediest children and families”, etc.

    That is why Obama will obviously not endorse Ron Paul’s idea (endorsed by Dean Baker) to simply have the Fed destroy the federal debt it holds to leave room under the debt ceiling, even though it would provide Obama with the opportunity to tout another bipartisan compromise success. The deficit issue is fraudulent, an excuse.

  5. Artie Gold says:

    It’s still a distributional problem. To the contrary of what keeps on getting said at every level of government, we’re not broke. The idea that “we just can’t afford it” is dangerous nonsense.

    What we’ve done is simultaneously divert more of the fruits to fewer pockets AND lower the price of doing business for the same folks. That has distorted prices, distorted the overall demand curve, distorted incentives and all the rest.

    And now we’re paying. Well, those who have *least* benefited from this form of societal rape — the vast majority — anyway.

    Some talk about unemployment being structural (effectively blaming the unemployed for not having the “right” skills). Also nonsense. The problem *is* structural — but it’s all about the way the economy itself has been “structured” in the last three decades (overall, anyway; there were a few years in there when things were going the right way).