Want to laugh out loud? Read “Barack Obama, Deficit-Slayer” by Matthew Yglesias:
As the economy recovers, tax revenues will rise, social safety net outlays will fall, and stimulus measures will begin to tamp down. If we can assume further growth in 2011, the complete expiry of Recovery Act provisions, and the winding down of the Iraq War, that’ll be further deficit reduction. On the merits, people would still do well to be concerned about the deficit further out when, in the absence of structural reform of the health care sector, Medicare costs will bury us all. But in the short term, things are going to look worse than they really are in 2009 and then look better than they really are in 2010. And of course people vote in the even-numbered years.
Now back to reality:
The likelihood of severe unemployment extending into the 2010 midterm elections and beyond poses a significant political hurdle to President Obama and congressional Democrats, who are already under fire for what critics label profligate spending. Continuing high unemployment rates would undercut the fundamental argument behind much of that spending: the promise that it will create new jobs and improve the prospects of working Americans, which Obama has called the ultimate measure of a healthy economy.
Reality doesn’t care about the 2010 elections:
Those of you (who can still afford the luxury of) a trusty Bloomberg will note the ‘exhaustion rate’ for jobless benefits – EXHTRATE – reveals that people are not leaving the pool of continuing unemployment claims because they are getting new jobs; Rather, they are leaving because they have exhausted their benefits.
They are now unemployed AND broke. That is hardly a green shoot …
Even liberal think-tanks are not buying the administration’s rosy projections:
The budget outlook at every horizon is troubling: the fiscal-year 2009 budget is enormous; the ten-year projection is clearly unsustainable; and the long-term outlook is dire and increasingly urgent. These general trends are punctuated by a number of specific highlights that illustrate the United States fiscal problem. The Medicare Trust Fund is now projected to be exhausted by 2017. Credit default swap markets now imply a non-negligible probability of default on senior U.S. Treasury debt in the next five years. A top Chinese official has publicly questioned the security of U.S. Treasury obligations.
Maybe laugh out loud is wrong. Try cry out loud. Or for crying out loud.