Deficit scolds enjoy a public opinion advantage because people (egged on by politicians) draw analogies between government revenues and spending and household income and spending. “We have to tighten our belts when less comes in,” goes the reasoning.
Of course, it’s a lot more complicated than that when we’re talking about government revenues and spending and how it interacts with the domestic and global economy. But simple analogies are appealing, and the scolds use this as a cudgel to whack stimulus proponents.
As we know, in the upcoming debt ceiling fight, the Republicans will position themselves as the fiscally responsible people who want to stop borrowing money for spending we can’t afford. This is a lie, of course, since the debt ceiling concerns money that has already been appropriated by Congress.
But hardly anyone knows that. Maybe it’s time to steal a page from the wingnut playbook and craft a simple analogy of our own.
The president has pointed out that the debt ceiling isn’t about new spending. But maybe he should say not raising it would be like a family that wanted to cut its overall spending refusing to make mortgage and car payments on their existing home and vehicles instead of making smarter choices about future purchases.
The Republicans are threatening to ruin our credit and throw the global economy into turmoil by refusing to make good on credit that has already been extended for money that has already been spent. Maybe if more people got that, they’d see this as the radical and irresponsible behavior it is rather than just another boring round of endless DC squabbling. Or not.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]