I have to say that Paul Krugman's recent piece in the NY Times, which states that we are probably in the early phases of a third depression, is right on the money. The marks of a deflationary depression are all around us. But I think that Krugman's assessment of the conservatives' position is too charitable. He seems to think that they are resisting the moves the Federal Government should make out of some sort of allegiance to "orthodoxy" or a belief in balanced budgets. But we've repeatedly seen, since the neocons captured the Republican Party away from the old-school Eisenhower-era conservatives, that the conservatives (mainly Republicans, but also including conservative Democrats) don't give a damn about balanced budgets or fiscal responsibility when they can run up the nation's credit card to enrich their friends in high places and pursue global hegemony for the benefit of the multinational corporations. They have learned that they can do something and just call it the opposite and that their echo chamber of propagandists (Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reily, et al.) will broadcast it as if it were the truth. So they can say that tax cuts for the rich will benefit the poor, or that an oil disaster which resulted from a lack of oversight actually resulted from too much oversight, etc. etc. etc. And a corporate media wedded to the idea that the truth must lie somewhere between left and right gets it wrong every time, because that assumption is only valid if the two parties are equally trustworthy and are not trying to win at any cost. Assuming the truth must lie in the middle between two parties, one of which is a cynical, compulsive serial liar wihtout any regard for the truth while the other has a reasonable attachment to fairness and honesty, is a recipe for bad journalism. In the present case, it is obvious that the Republicans know very well that hewing to a fiscally draconian policy of tightening the budget in the midst of a depression will be disastrous for the working people of the United States, and that the pain it will cause the business community can be ameliorated only by their favorite nostrum of throwing out tax cuts and loopholes for the rich like Mardi Gras tosses. That will result in a win-win scenario for the Republicans and the wealthy because the Democrats, being nominally "in charge" of the federal government, will get the blame as unemployment demoralizes the Dems' base for the midterm elections. Then, a Republican majority can really go after Obama like they did with Clinton, maybe even impeach him, but at any rate, hold so many hearings on his administration once they have subpoena power that they can put the fix in for 2012. With a Republican in the White House, they can then kill Social Security and accomplish some of their other pet projects to get us back to the good ol' 19th century. These guys think long-term, and the motives they give for what they do are never the truth. We need to learn to assume that what they say is a lie because they are saying it. So if they say they're worried about deficits, we can assume they're lying because their mouths are moving. The real reason they want to tighten the budget right now is to keep the economy in the tank long enough to win the 2010 election.

Erik

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