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March 25, 2013

'Fred Hiatt Bemoans the Fact that We Are Unlikely to Get an Economic Crisis to Advance His Agenda'

Dean Baker is upset with Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post:
Fred Hiatt Bemoans the Fact that We Are Unlikely to Get an Economic Crisis to Advance His Agenda: Nope, I'm not kidding. In his column today, Hiatt complained that no one seems to be moving forward on his deficit reduction agenda. He then told readers:
"What could shake them out of their own devices? One possibility, a fiscal hawk in the Obama administration told me almost wistfully, would be a 'minor market event.' A stock market plunge, an interest rate spike, a race to the exits by America’s foreign lenders — just enough to spook Congress.
Are you surprised to hear that there are fiscal hawks in the Obama administration? No? Anyway:
"But as long as the Federal Reserve is gobbling up U.S. debt to keep interest rates low, such a mishap seems unlikely."
Yes, it must be awful when you have a view of the economy that the economy refuses to corroborate. (In fairness, Hiatt, does add that such a market event could spin out of control, so "it is not really to be wished for.")
As usual, Hiatt is upset that President Obama is not pushing hard enough for cuts to Social Security and Medicare. While he does give Obama credit for proposing some cuts to Medicare (what happened to the chained CPI?), what really has him upset is that President Obama doesn't talk about inflicting pain... if Hiatt had access to economic data he would know that President Obama's policies are already causing the middle class to feel plenty of pain. ...
Of course the needed change in policy is the opposite of what Hiatt is pushing. We need larger deficits to generate the demand needed to boost the economy. ...
The fiscal hawks and scolds will never admit it, but they've harmed our ability to respond effectively to the unemployment crisis.

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