We need to understand how we got here and we ought to stop repeating what just doesn’t work. What got us here was a combination of recession – temporarily higher spending and lost revenue – and over a decade of unaffordable tax cuts. Before the recession and the latest tax cuts, we were running surpluses. Spending obviously wasn’t the big problem and our government debt to GDP is pretty reasonable and interest rates are low. Why then the obsession with cutting? And where are the alternatives?
About 80 years ago Antonio Gramsci, an ideologue of a different stripe, wrote in his prison notebooks of moments in history when old ways of thinking are clearly not working but new ways have not yet been born. “In this interregnum”, he wrote, “a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” We are, it seems, in just such an interregnum.
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