The most important aspect of policymaking is getting the problem right. We are slouching toward a double dip because we’re getting the problem wrong. Despite what Standard & Poor’s says, notwithstanding what’s occurring in Europe, and regardless of U.S. budget projections years from now — our current crisis is jobs, wages and growth. We do not now have a debt crisis.
Every time you hear an American politician analogize the nation’s budget to a family budget (as, sadly, even President Obama has done), you should know the politician is not telling the truth. The truth is just the opposite. Our national budget can and should counteract the shrinkage of family budgets by running larger deficits when families cannot.
Americans are more frightened, economically insecure, and angrier than at any time since the Great Depression. If our lawmakers continue to obsess about the wrong thing and fail to do what must be done — and they don’t explain it to the nation — Americans will only become more fearful, insecure and angry.
We are slouching toward a double dip, with all the human costs that implies. We don’t have to be. That is the tragedy of our time.Robert Reich, Slouching Toward a Double Dip, For No Good Reason