I've noticed a very dangerous trend on network and cable TV news. Have you noticed that does the Beltway media never puts on an economist who disagrees with their deficit fetish? Do economists have to fill out a form that declares what side of the deficit debate they are on before they get invited to discuss the subject? The only time we get meaningful pushback against the deficit scolds is by Paul Krugman --and he's just one person. And to MSNBC, why does Fix The Debt shill Ed Rendell get much more air time than any economist when it comes to issues regarding America's economy?
I want answers and I want them now.
Bloggers like myself, Digby and Duncan (just to name a few) constantly write about this topic. That's how terms like "deficit scolds" came to be. The Beltway has always been infected by a swamp fever meme disease on any given political meme. Recently the fever came out over the fiscal cliff and under Bush, it was the Iraq War. Greg Sargent calls it the Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop. You can fill replace the second word of this title with any other topic and it will fit nicely into the equation.
That’s true, but it’s worth reflecting onwhy Scarborough believes Krugman’s views are so marginal and isolated. It gets back to what I’ve called the “Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop.” The relentless bipartisan focus on the deficit convinces voters to be worried about it, which in turn leads lawmakers to spend still more time talking about it and less time talking about the economy, a phenomenon that is self-reinforcing.
This is exacerbated by some commentators and news orgs, who continue to treat the deficit scolds with a great deal of deference, while marginalizing the opinion that we should prioritize boosting the economy and job creation as a means of getting the country’s fiscal problems under control over time without savage spending cuts that will hurt a lot of people. Back in 2011one study actually confirmed that newspapers were spending far more time talking about the deficit than the economy — at a time when the recovery was in serious peril.
The Morning Joe crew’s reaction to Krugman perfectly captures this phenomenon. They treated him as a pariah. According to Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski compared Krugman’s “head in the sand” approach to that of climate deniers. You can almost picture Krugman sent on a lonely march through the Village square, head hanging in shame, with “DD” — Deficit Denier — printed on his back in big scarlet letters
I imagine Joe Scarborough actually believes that there are no real economists in the Western world world who would side with Krugman:
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman came on “Morning Joe” Monday to discuss his latest book and the state of affairs in Washington. Mr. Krugman's view is that Americans would be better off if its government ran deeper deficits and ignored its longterm debt. That, of course, runs counter to conventional wisdom across the Western world, which is exactly why the New York Times columnist believes Spain and Great Britain are suffering through endless recessions.
See, Paul is against the world, dammit! The very good Joe Weisenthal quickly lists at least eleven people, almost all are actual economists who would agree with Paul over the deficit scolds and lists them for Joe to see.
But actually there are plenty of economists and economically-literate minds who think that, to varying degrees, the deficit is not what we should be worrying about.
For Joe Scarborough's sake, here's a list of people. With each we've linked to comments they've made about their (lack of) worry about the deficit.
- Goldman chief economist Jan Hatzius
- Nomura economist Richard Koo
- Brad Delong
- Alan Blinder
- Martin Wolf
- Larry Summers
- James Galbraith
- Robert Reich
- Bruce Bartlett
- John Makin (a conservative AEI scholar with a new paper out today on the danger of overhyping deficit fears!)
- Rep. Jerry Nadler (not an economist, but as knowledgeable on economics as anyone up on Scarborough's list).
When will the Beltway media learn from past mistakes?
How much blood and treasure did the Iraq war cause America?
How much more blood and treasure will be squeezed out of the skins of every working class family if we don't get a true perspective on the economy of America?
Media bookers, please start contacting the names you see here or my friend Dean Baker, who just wrote this for the Guardian:
The UK's looming triple-dip recession should be austerity's death knell, but in the fevered brains of Washington analysts it lives on...read on
See? Not every single economist believes what Joe Scarborough believes.