I UNDERSTAND the national debt is a problem. I know this because I’ve been hearing about it since I was a boy in the 1960s. Same with the budget deficit. Taxes and spending are something we need to keep an eye on at all times.
Here’s what I don’t understand. The big pickle we found ourselves in around 2008, and that we’ve never quite gotten out of since, was not caused by the national debt or the federal deficit. It was caused by private sector debt — specifically, an overextended mortgage market ginned up by brokers and bankers more concerned with their bonuses and quarterly statements than making good loans. Some of them tried half-heartedly to blame it on federal fair housing laws but the truth is no one forced anyone to make a loan they didn’t want to make.
(A) Why aren’t we, and why isn’t Congress, at least as concerned about addressing the conditions that actually caused the great recession as we are the national debt?
(B) Given how much the American economy depends on housing, cars and consumer goods for expansion; how much that economic activity is dependent on credit; and how badly many Americans were burned by credit during the great recession, why is it a surprise the recovery has been so slow?
I UNDERSTAND that whenever any government decides to do something, it winds up costing at least twice as much as it ought to. Or at least it seems that way.
What I don’t understand is that some of the same people who say government can’t create jobs howl the loudest when there is talk of closing a federal installation, especially a military base, or cancelling a defense contract because of the impact it will have on the local economy. Same with transportation. Just seems inconsistent to me.