Sunday, July 1, 2012


“The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity. Even if you have a long-run deficit problem, slashing spending while the economy is deeply depressed is a self-defeating strategy, because it just deepens the depression,” says legendary Economist John Maynard Keynes.

In her announcement speech to run for Congress (NY25), Brooks made it clear that she wants to reduce the size of government. What she really means is she wants to dismantle organized labor in the public sector and reduce their political strength.

The Maggie Brooks austerity drive for shrinking the size of the government isn’t really about good government at all-- it’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to eradicate social programs that take care of our poor, disabled and elderly. It's also part of her long-term strategy to eliminate the public sector jobs-- don't be fooled by her rhetoric.

At first glance, you might say that this back and forth is just partisan bickering-- but, this is really not the case. This is data driven economic theory 101 folks, and Maggie Brooks has not done her homework.

When you take on austerity measures for local, state and federal governments, the result is that everyone’s income falls — my income falls because you’re spending less, and your income falls because I’m spending less. And, as our incomes plunge, our debt problem gets worse, not better. It is called the race to the bottom.

No one wins here except the rich people Maggie is trying to protect—the very people who are insulated from any financial harm regardless of a so-so economy. They have theirs—and they don’t want you to have yours.

Leading economists like Paul Krugman says shrinking the size of government in a recession is a horrible idea and politicians like Maggie Brooks have no clue what they are talking about. All you have to do is look across the pond to see how austerity budgets have crippled the quality of life for its residents, especially in Spain and Britain.  All you need to do is see what countries have weathered the storm best. Right at the top of the list you’ll find big-government nations like Sweden and Austria economically thriving.  

Krugman warns that politicians like Brooks who promote an austerity agenda will do irreparable harm to the economy. And there’s a clear moral to this story: When the private sector is frantically trying to pay down debt, the public sector should do the opposite, spending when the private sector can’t or won’t. By all means, let’s balance our budget once the economy has recovered — but not now. The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity. 

This should be proof positive that cutting vital services, eliminating public service jobs and shrinking the size of government in a recession is the worst possible thing to consider if you are running for Congress in a moderate district like Monroe County, N.Y. The folks here know better—we value our public services thank you very much.

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