Saturday, February 16, 2013

morning schmo

He went from being a Republican back-bencher in the House of Representatives, circa 1990's, to the host of a little-noted MSNBC talk-show host with a program called "Scarborough Country."

Then about five years ago Don Imus, who had the 5 a.m. -- 7 a.m. slot at the network, melted down after he and his fascist/racist producer/engineer, Bernard McGuirk (today a Fox News "contributor") got into calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "a bunch of nappy-headed hoes." Long story short, Scarborough gets the morning slot, and his show acquires a great name: "Morning Joe."

Scarborough makes a good "Everyman" type, who mistakes the right to his own opinion with expertise, as so many of us often do. And his current confusion of political orthodoxy with economics shows the same lack of comprehension the entire country is struggling with at the moment.

A few weeks ago he had Paul Krugman as a guest, who did his usual schtick -- the government should be working to create jobs right now as its deficit reduction program, and pivot to taking care of excessive spending later. Morning Schmo was apparently shocked by Krugman's lack of orthodoxy, and has been attacking him ever since, claiming that Krugman is a deficit denier.

Here's the orthodox view: the US has a spending problem, and the yearly deficits will ruin us, and morning Schmo, in doing battle with Krugman, has been humping it for all he's worth. Where does this orthodoxy come from? Krugman calls it "the beltway deficit feedback loop," and Scarborough is simply functioning as part of the echo chamber.

Krugman, as far as I know, has not responded to Scarborough directly -- that would be engaging in a battle of wits with an unarmed person. Maybe I can help, since I taught remedial economics in high school one year.

Now, class, what's the opposite of a deficit? That's right, it's called a surplus. You know, back at the beginning of the century we had one in this country. And what's the opposite of expenditure? That's correct, it's called income, or its proper name, revenue.

So when we had a surplus, we decided to radically reduce our revenue, but then, after adding in the cost of a couple wars, the books didn't balance.

It's obvious, isn't it? We have a serious revenue shortage in the US.

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