Where’s the evidence to back up the fear mongering? A challenge to the Fiscal Commission’s report.
James K. Galbraith
James K. Galbraith is General Editor of “Galbraith: The Affluent Society and Other Writings, 1952-1967,” just published by Library of America. He teaches at The University of Texas at Austin.
The report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, issued on December 1, 2010 by Chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, is entitled “The Moment of Truth.” The words appear in block caps on the second page, weighty and portentous. They reappear in the first paragraph of the preamble:
EXTRACT: These sentences set the tone. The first is a bald-faced lie, as a Westerner like Senator Simpson knows perfectly well. To the contrary, we have often fallen under the sway of robber barons, water barons, oil barons, bison-killers, clear-cutters and strip-miners, hell-bent on maximum pillage in the shortest time. Only occasionally have a few heroes like Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and Harold Ickes Sr. emerged to battle for the most precious physical elements of our heritage — and then only with limited success.
EXTRACT: Noticeably missing from the Commission’s plan are measures that would fall on the “leaders” themselves. The very richest pay cash for their houses. The commission would reduce, not increase, marginal income tax rates. There is no suggestion of a financial transactions tax.
EXTRACT: “…we spent the past eight months studying the same cold, hard facts. Together, we have reached these unavoidable conclusions. The problem is real. The solution will be painful. There is no easy way out. And Washington must lead.”
The reference to “studying” is suggestive. Are there any studies? White papers? Background analyses? Normally, one might expect a commission to produce some. In this case, it did not. The Commission’s web site makes no mention of any such thing.
Phi Beta Iota: The most important point in our view is that there are no studies to back up the hyperbole and the recommendations, at the same time that it is clear the deficit reductions are Of, By, and For Wall Street, not We the People. The White House and Congress continue to offer the public theater of the most absurd kind, lacking in all substance and assuredly not in the public interest.