Monday, April 11, 2011

No Can Do Mentality. Or on Deficits, Governments and Families.

Atrios mentions this today:
...but I continue to be amazed at the completely pervasive can't do spirit that seems to have gripped the country. Maybe we need to win a hockey game against the Soviets or something to bounce back.
Maybe "no can do" is not quite the right term for what is going on. Governments are copying the behavior of Herbert Hoover. This could be a natural emotional reaction to the shrinking of jobs: Insecurity breeds fear.

But it doesn't explain this obsessive-compulsive focus on the deficits. It's as if a couple of people have just lost their jobs and then immediately decided that the best thing to do in that situation is to pay off the whole mortgage, right away!

It's inane, and what is also inane are the incorrect comparisons of the government to families. I keep hearing how we all have to tighten our belts at the same time, though many, many families in the United States (such as those in the top one percent) are not tightening anything at all. That aside, the government is NOT a family, and even if the metaphor worked the time to pay off your mortgage is not when you have lost your job.

What Atrios means is that somehow we have become convinced of the necessity to pay off that mortgage right now and not on the importance of creating more jobs. It's retracting, on the surface. But on another level some are getting what they want, and it's crucial not to forget that. Mmm.