Tag Archives: Deficits

The Clueless Petitioner (Yet again, the Buffett Deficit “Fix”)

Just got a totally clueless comment on a prior post. In that post I debunked the widely distributed chain-letter email claiming that Warren Buffett endorses a fix to the federal deficit that would make members of Congress ineligible for re-election whenever the deficit rises above 3% of GDP.

In the first place, Buffett was joking, and he never endorsed the chain-letter email. Secondly, if enacted, the proposal would seriously hurt the economy. It would, in effect, put the U.S. in a bind like the one that euro-zone nations have been in during the last five years.  Lacking authority over their own currency, they have been answerable to a central bank insisting on economic austerity at a time when government spending is the best—in fact, pretty much the only—means of lifting their economies out of stagnation and high unemployment.

The comment comes in the form of a request for me to sign a petition offered to the new White House We the People program, an effort by the Obama administration to make it easy for ordinary citizens to offer petitions to the government about their concerns. At best, the program has had mixed results, largely because of petitions like this one.

The commenter uses the same language as the phony chain-letter email:

Please sign my petition to End the deficit! If the US deficit exceeds 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress become ineligible for re-election

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: “I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC…. [and so on, exactly the same as the chain-letter email].

You’d think a commenter would actually read my post before offering a comment and asking me to sign his petition. But, evidently, that’s not how it’s done these days.


Deficits and IV-Bags

NPR broadcast an interview this morning with economist James Galbraith (U of Texas, Austin), who likens the federal deficit to an IV-bag in an emergency room, a lifeline to a very sick patient. The interview is a follow-up to Galbraith’s recent article in the Los Angeles Times (scroll down through the ads). The Morning Edition interviewer is David Greene:

Introduction (Greene). Many people have expressed concern about the deficit. Families who say they don’t like to carry debt say they don’t really like the idea of the country being weighed down by the same problem. Economists have long debated this point, and many say that a federal deficit is not such a bad thing. One economist who holds this view is Professor James Galbraith from the University of Texas. We reached him in Vermont.

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