What you don't get to say at a Peterson Foundation summit is that the whole premise is insane; that we need to target growth and jobs first, with larger deficits as necessary, and that deficit reduction will eventually follow as the economy recovers. The press coverage of these events invariably reinforces the Peterson script that everyone's for deficit reduction first, even people like Paul Ryan and Chris van Hollen, who agree on nothing else....
All of this is devoted to a single goal -- a national consensus on austerity and pressure on politicians of all stripes to embrace it.America today is contending with not one but two brands of know-nothing conservatism. We have the populist right in the form of the Tea Parties, and we have the Wall Street right parading as sensible centrists who want the economy to deflate its way to recovery. The former, at least, denies science, promotes gun-toting, savages gays, and craves theocracy. It wears its extremism on its sleeve. The Peterson right, if anything, is far more insidious because it masquerades as a disinterested, statesmen-like solution to partisan deadlock and economic crisis.
Austerity is a false cure for a prolonged recession. The Peterson Foundation is peddling fiscal snake oil. It is using a genuine crisis as an excuse to bash social insurance, at a time when we should be expanding social insurance. It's appalling that so many people are gulled by this propaganda.
Read it at The Huffington Post
Rober Kuttner | co-editor of The American Prospect and a senior fellow at Demos