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Sea change

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has come to the realization that Federal deficits are not a problem.

...as a non-economist staring at Congressional Budget Office projections and at examples of fiscal crisis from Greece to California, it seemed reasonable to make deficit cutting a near-term priority from 2010 onward, to offset the surge of Great Recession spending with a period of belt-tightening.

But now I think this reasonable view was wrong... I was wrong in the priority that I gave the deficit relative to other issues, wrong to discern a looming "fiscal precipice," wrong in some of the criticism I leveled at both George W. Bush and Barack Obama for failing to care enough about balancing the nation's books.

The best time to make deficit reduction a priority is when the inflation rate and the bond market give you some indication that you are headed for a dangerous inflationary spiral. Such indicators were conspicuously absent eight years ago, but many people I talked to (including people in the Obama White House) argued that it was important to reduce deficits pre-emptively, because the spiraling could happen too quickly for policymakers to effectively respond. At that point I believed them; now I think they had overlearned lessons from the 1970s that did not apply in 2010.

We'll see if it'll last through the next Democratic administration, but it's still a major shift.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 12:57 PM | Liberal Outrage