Deficits Matter Morally
There are two things I don’t understand.
Actually, there are many things I don’t understand, but what I’m thinking about, now, is how one can honestly defend massive government deficits in one of the two usual ways.
The first defense became a cliché while I still wore footsie pajamas: Deficits don’t matter because we owe the debt “to ourselves.”
The truth? More complicated. Some people buy debt; others don’t. Were we to “forgive us our debts” (to appropriate a familiar phrase), we wouldn’t be forgiving what we owe “us,” but what the “U.S.” owes just those investors who’ve bought that debt.
And not even “everybody” owes the debt, since the taxes that would be collected, extra, to pay the debt might not come out of your pocket, or mine — it’ll come out of those pockets, over there. (Of course, you’re probably thinking, “I should be so lucky!”)
No wonder government debt is so tempting. On the surface it’s all inclusive. “We’re all in this together.” But beneath, it’s some folks trying to get one over on other folks.
Then what about today’s excuse: “We owe it to folks overseas.” Since much of our governments’ debt gets bought up by investors abroad, we don’t have to worry about it because . . .
The unspoken thought is: “We’ll just renege on our promises.” Not pay it. Screw them.
Simple truth: Apologists for growing deficits flirt with mass theft from the government’s creditors.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.