Conservative Budget Fail

by: Im a frayed knot

Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 18:20:47 PM EST



Conservatives keep saying that families in America have to live within their means and not spend more than they make.  I am not convinced that experience within a family can be extended to government.  I am not convinced that the goals are the same, nor do I believe the premise scales.  However, even if we give conservatives this premise, their argument fails.
Im a frayed knot :: Conservative Budget Fail
IF we extend the metaphor of families to government, we need to extend the whole metaphor.  Do American families really live within their means?  Or do they do the debt thing?

Think about it.  One thing the most successful American families do is strategic debt.  They consider some debt to be investment.  For example, they invest in infrastructure (a home).  The infrastructure debt is not expected to be paid off for an average of 30 years.  They are willing to carry this debt as a benefit to the family of having a stable (not meaning animal house) place for the family to live.  Payment on this debt is typically about a third of the family income.  If our government were to invest as much in our infrastructure, our roads and bridges would be in excellent shape for years to come.  

Families invest in transportation.  Few buy cars for cash.  It is important to have good transportation in order to go to work (job creation) and earn the money to pay the bills (not unlike more people working generating income for the country).

Families invest in energy.  Many families are paying more now for high efficiency appliances and insulation in order to save on energy costs in the future.

Families invest in education.  They save for college and supplement it with student loans.

Finally, families provide health care and basic living for all members of the household regardless of contribution.  There is no grumbling that junior doesn't pay his share.  The parents make the most, the parents pay the most.  

The conservative argument should be challenged.  In light of what really happens in successful families, it sounds like the winner is Progressivism.

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As a Brit... (2.00 / 12)
...who has lived with the last three years of Neo Liberal austerity I can tell you...

Cutting government expenditure during a time of massive private deleveraging leads to a triple dip recession. The IMF have completely revised their economic models based on the British experience. Public sector spending doesn't "crowd out" private enterprise - but multiplies it by almost double

Obama understood this - hence America's relative buoyancy. And never let the Hooverites of the 30s ever mislead you again. The British example- at the cost of my two college age kids proved it - the economy is not a household. The paradox of thrift rules. If everyone tries to save, no one can

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'


Of course, I did not (2.00 / 12)
necessarily agree with their premise that the family can be extended to the government.  The goals are different, the context is different - every threat to validity is realized!  However, even if you give them the premise they fail.

[ Parent ]
Excellent explanation (2.00 / 10)
Even when our investments as a family don't necessarily work out (the child who leaves college after a year or two, the home that loses its value, or never hosts the pitter-patter of little feet due to infertility), we carry on. We believe in the future.

Our politicians paint a vision of dread and despair unless we do what they say, right now.  If only they had as much faith in the general goodness of life as most of us have.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


There are two economic realities: (2.00 / 9)
1) the paradox of thrift

2) the value of hope

1 - As Peter says, when there is no spending there is no earning, and so the spiral deepens.

2 - When people have hope they eventually pick up and move on, and economies move with them.

The GOP argument is that a massive cut in economic input will spur the economy, and that everyone should live in fear.

Well done, doorknobs.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


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