You'd think that in this op-ed from 10 ex-chairs of the president's Council of Economic Advisers would have something, just one little thing, to say about how destructive for the economy high, long-term unemployment has been.
But no, they seem to be much more concerned with how easy old people and the middle class have it in America. Oh, and the bond markets:
As former chairmen and chairwomen of the Council of Economic Advisers, who have served in Republican and Democratic administrations, we urge that the Bowles-Simpson report, “The Moment of Truth,” be the starting point of an active legislative process that involves intense negotiations between both parties....
While the actual deficit is likely to shrink over the next few years as the economy continues to recover, the aging of the baby-boom generation and rapidly rising health care costs are likely to create a large and growing gap between spending and revenues. These deficits will take a toll on private investment and economic growth. At some point, bond markets are likely to turn on the United States—leading to a crisis that could dwarf 2008....
The key principle is to limit tax expenditures—tax breaks designed to encourage certain activities—and so broaden the tax base. It advocates using some of the resulting revenues for deficit reduction and some for lowering marginal tax rates, which can help encourage greater investment and economic growth.
So cut out all the tax credits for the middle class, but no word about raising taxes on the wealthy. The rest of us just get too many breaks, and that upsets the bond markets. Because it's all about the bond markets.
Never mind that a quarter of all mortgages in this country are underwater and that there is no coherent plan in place to stabilize that or fix foreclosure fraud. Or that the housing market has plummeted to depths we haven't seen since record-keeping began in 1963. Or that unemployment continues as unsustainable levels. (See the tanking housing market.) Or that sustained high unemployment cuts revenues to both the general budget and to Social Security.
Austerity or bust. I'm afraid it's going to be both.