Please forgive me in advance for this rant. I am trying to “take care of my anger,” as Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, but I’m failing. My hair is totally on fire, and every time I open my mouth firey red toads and pimpled orange frogs jump out. I find myself shouting. At the radio, at the TV, at the computer. I find myself calling people defamatory names wrapped in vast streams of expletives and insults. This is not good, enlightened Buddhist behavior. I apologize for it. My frustration with the prevailing stupidity has taken my breath away and turned me at long last into a complete raving lunatic.
The short of this (if I can stop yelling and calm down at all): Unemployment is at 9.1 per cent this week, down from 9.2 per cent the week before. That is not an improvement because the .1% doesn’t keep up with population growth. You can package this .1% manure as a gift and cover it with whipped cream, but it’s never going to be a dessert. We need jobs. Badly. And we need to cut the barnyard excrement about that and focus on making jobs.
We need jobs. I turn on the television and I see the President and the commentators and the well dressed, nice haircut people of both parties linking arms and saying together that the big problem is the deficit. And that poor and middle class people need to do their fair share (what a joke) so that the deficit can be closed. And we'll have a "balance approach" to the deficit. If the deficit were eliminated, they sing, things would be so much better. What? Are you (expletive deleted) kidding me? They have to be kidding, don’t they? Evidently not. It’s a cruel, stupid, unpalatable, evil joke. And it is arrant stupidity. If spending is cut, the economy shrinks, and guess what, jobs are lost. Cutting the deficit is not job creation, it is just the opposite. Cutting the deficit does NOT create jobs. I curse the TV, turn it off, and stomp over to my faithful computer.
I turn to the Internet. I see that Sen. McCaskill (no, I’m not giving her a link) admits that there’s not going to be a jobs bill in Congress this year. Yeah, we need jobs, but we can’t do a jobs bill. Well, why not? Because spending money, any money, even money guaranteed to create jobs cannot pass the present Congress. No? Why not? Because the consensus is that the problem is the deficit, and since taxes cannot be raised (no, no, no) spending has to be cut. There you have it. How else, they question, are we going to fix the deficit? So, long story extra short, we cannot spend money to create jobs, because when we spend money it increases the deficit. Let me repeat: Cutting the deficit is not job creation, it is just the opposite. I push my chair away from the keyboard. I throw the wireless mouse on the floor. I use the all-purpose 12-letter M curse. Loudly. I mutter various obscenities. The dog hides under the table. I look in vain for a beer in the refrigerator.
I find myself yelling at the beerless refrigerator. The 12-letter M curse first. Loud. Again. Then more muttering: Did all of these (expletive deleted) people decide not to take Economics 101? Or did they just (expletive deleted) flunk it? Or are they in the thrall, the evil trance of the (many, many expletives deleted) Chicago School of Voodoo Economics? Look, I’m no Paul Krugman (you can sure as dung say that again), but it’s quite clear: the Government has to spend money, a lot of money if it is going to spur job creation. It’s that simple. In other words, the Government has to do exactly the opposite of what Obama and the Congress and the commentators and the media are all saying in unison needs to be done.
Forget the (expletive deleted) deficit. Just forget about it. Completely. Spend money, doesn’t matter where you get it, to create good jobs. I’m not trying to be contrarian. No. I’m just screaming at the world, at me, at the TV, the refrigerator and the computer, that if jobs are ever going to be increased in the US of A, the Government’s only effective, proven strategy is fiscal policy and that, amig@s, means spending money. All this hoo hah about the Fed, about monetary policy is all very nice. A day late, more than a dollar short. And far too weak to break the current phase of long term unemployment and economic contraction. The deficit and “fixing” it by slashing government spending is a sure way to increase unemployment. Did you hear that, I'm yelling? You're going to make it worse you (string of expletives deleted).
If the Government would spend enough money to stimulate the economy (as compared to the (expletive deleted) token barnyard excrement bills it has passed recently) and really get unemployment down to a couple of pathetic percentage points, that itself it would generate enough taxes to start closing the deficit. And we wouldn't have to continue this stupid debate about how to decrease the deficit: cut spending, increase taxes, balance approach, etc etc. We could focus on something that is urgently needed and will alleviate vast oceans of suffering. We could focus on jobs.
Please. I’m noticing that I’m starting to yell again. I have to breathe audibly to keep from shouting at the keyboard. Let me try. Put simply: job creation is how to fix the deficit. And to create jobs the Government needs to spend money. It is that simple. Anybody who contradicts this is quite simply and most assuredly wrong.
I feel my face turning red. I feel that my breathing is too fast. My hair is on fire. It’s as if I were in a room with 250 million people and I’m the only one who speaks only Spanish. All the other people speak other languages, but no Spanish. This is frustrating. I cannot understand why raising my voice and shouting and screaming and banging on the table doesn’t make what I’m saying comprehensible. Undeterred, I yell on. I’m well aware that this is the definition of insanity, but know what? I don’t know what else to do.
cross posted from The Dream Antilles