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Monday, January 24, 2011

Political Grandstanding

by Calculated Risk on 1/24/2011 05:54:00 PM

There have been a few recent "policy" discussions that I haven't mentioned - because they are all about political posturing with no real substance.

A couple of examples:
• The Debt Ceiling. The deficit and the debt are real issues, but the "debt ceiling" debate is political posturing. Professor Hamilton recently wrote: Debt ceiling politics

If you have a concrete proposal to raise tax revenue or cut spending, then put it on the table. But if you simply want to grandstand on the debt ceiling as if it were a stand-alone issue, it is clear that you have nothing but contempt for the voters.
• A recent article in the NY Times about "discussions" on state bankruptcies. Not Gonna Happen. Economix has California’s state treasurer, Bill Lockyer response: State Bankruptcies? ‘Ludicrous,’ He Says
“It’s a cynical proposal, intended to incite a panic in response to a phony crisis,” Mr. Lockyer said in a conference call with journalists. “Killer bees, space aliens, and now it’s the invasion of the bankrupt states.”
The state budget issues are serious. And the U.S. debt and deficit issues are serious too. But I've ignored the "debt ceiling" and "state bankruptcy" discussions for a reason - they are nonsense.