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View Diary: Are we watching a re-run of Caver-in-Chief? (116 comments)

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  •  Not exactly. (1+ / 0-)
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    The debate cannot be on whether we can afford something that is in the public good.  The debate should be about what is in the public good.
    Both points are relevant. Claiming that we can afford all we want is magical thinking.

    He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

    by Sophie Amrain on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:26:16 PM PST

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    •  I did not say we can afford all we want (0+ / 0-)

      The federal government can afford anything that can be purchased in its own currency aka dollars.  That is a very important difference between saying the government can afford everything we want.

      The limit is not affordability.

      The limit is should it be done.
      The limit is inflation. (related to resource constraints)
      The limit is other consequences that might be bad.

      We could decide that all the drinking fountains should have wine in them. The federal government can afford to buy all the wine for sale in dollars. Some wine might not be for sale at any price.  There might not be enough wine that can be purchased for dollars to fill all the drinking fountains.  A lot of land might start growing grapes instead of other stuff due to the increase in wine prices in anticipation of this kind of purchase going on forever.  That pushes out food growing.  Wine billionaires drive up prices of everything else.  So, just because the government can afford something does not mean we can get anything we want (some drinking fountains went without wine), nor that the consequences are acceptable.

      So, the federal government can afford anything that can be bought with dollars, but we might not get what we want because there are limitations other than "Do we have enough dollars?"  Dollars are keystrokes in a computer, dollars don't cost anything.  So, the limitation is not the first order question of do we have the dollars (aka affordability), it is the second order questions of should it be done, and what are the consequences and are they acceptable.

      That is not magical thinking that is reality.  Magical thinking is that the government is actually limited in the number of dollars it can keystroke into existence by how many dollars it keystrokes out of existence via taxes.  Magical thinking is that the government can control its deficit via austerity and somehow that will reduce the deficit (it won't) and not inflict tremendous pain on the populous (it will).  Magical thinking is that having 28 million people who want to work full time idle or working part time because the government can't afford to put them to work is OK!

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