From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/28-7
by Dean Baker
Published on Monday, November 28, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
The country is still celebrating the inability of the supercommittee to cut Social Security and Medicare, but it is important to move on from this victory to retake control of the political debate from the One Percent. As it stands, the One Percent are insisting that the country genuflect over the non-problem of the budget deficit, at a time when tens of millions of workers are unemployed or underemployed, millions of people are facing the loss of their homes and tens of millions of baby boomers are approaching retirement with little other than their Social Security to support them.
The deficit is the agenda of the One Percent. There is no reason that the rest of us should be concerned about budget deficits when the rest of the country is struggling with the economic disaster created by the greed and incompetence of the One Percent.
This is not a statement of morality; it is a statement based on economic reality. Budget deficits can be a problem when an economy is near full employment and the deficit can be pulling resources away from private investment, thereby slowing growth. However, it is not a problem with large numbers of unemployed workers and vast amounts of excess capacity.
This is what the financial markets are telling us every day as interest rates on long-term government bonds hover near 2.0 percent. If deficits were really crimping the economy, we would be seeing interest rates of 6 or 7 percent, or even higher. The deficit hawks do not have an economic case to support their argument, just money and influence.
In the longer term, the deficit hawks can point to projections of outsized deficits, which they invariably attribute to Social Security and Medicare. The first part of this story is completely untrue.
Under the law, Social Security is financed from its designated tax. It, therefore, cannot contribute to the deficit unless Congress changes the law. (The payroll tax credit in 2011, which was replaced with general revenue, is an exception to this rule.)
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/28-7