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Democracy and Power 114: The Power Players
Who actually controls the force of government? The politicians and interest groups control the American political process. As stated, the politician seeks power. Special interest groups – big business, small business, unions, education, seniors, and a multitude of others - seek favors: tax breaks, subsidies, exclusive legislation, etc. Interest groups give enormous money to political campaigns, and receive gigantic benefits in return
Christina Romer, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, recently wrote a column in the Washington Post, pleading for additional federal money to maintain public school teachers. Previously, the Obama administration sent money to the states to “bailout” education in 2009 and 2010. All of this money is increasing the national debt, which is a gigantic burden on working Americans and future workers.
So, why is Romer a cheerleader for education? Why is a well-respected economist making simplistic and political pleas for spending more federal money to employ teachers?
First, educators are an interest group which supplies enormous financial support to the Democratic Party and the President. Additionally, the public favorably supports universal education. Thus, Romer is a cheerleader for education. Read Romer’s carefully worded political rationale:
Most worrisome, hundreds of thousands of public school teachers are likely to be laid off over the next few months. As many as one out of every 15 teachers could receive a pink slip this summer, the White House Council of Economic Advisers estimates. These layoffs would be spread throughout the country -- in urban, rural and suburban districts.
Such layoffs are terrible for teachers, for communities and, most important, for students. For the families directly affected, layoffs mean not only lost wages but often lost homes and postponed dreams. Because unemployed teachers have to cut back on spending, local businesses and overall economic activity suffer. And the costs of decreased learning time and support for students will be felt not just in the next year or two but will reduce our productivity for decades to come.
Romer knows, and Americans must understand, that government debt is an unpaid tax bill. As the late Hans Seenhoz, an economist dedicated to a small and frugal government stated: A government debt is a government claim against personal income and private property – an unpaid tax bill.
Ominously, Romer prefers political power at the expense of sound economic policy. Romer, as an important member of the Obama Administration has greatly enlarged an unpaid tax bill on future American workers, which will stifle economic growth and prosperity. Romer merely says they have intent to create a plan. The following is Romer’s simplistic political explanation:
Yes, we all understand that our budget deficit is too large. Profligate policies of the past and rising entitlement spending have created a mess that simply must be dealt with as we return to full employment. But it would be penny-wise and pound-foolish to deal with that issue by failing to allot essential spending on teachers at a time when the unemployment rate is still near 10 percent.
The right way to deal with a budget problem that was years in the making is by formulating a credible plan to reduce the deficit over time and as the economy is able to withstand the necessary fiscal belt-tightening. That is what President Obama is doing.
"… penny-wise and pound-foolish,” this is from the Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. After spending a year distorting the cost of the universal healthcare legislation, then buying Congressional votes, and gigantically increasing the debt, Romer pleads to send more money to the states for teachers. The Chair of the White House Economic Advisors should have a viable debt reduction plan, and inform the American people of the plan. Instead she is a cheerleader for a special interest group. This is politics as usual in DC and it is dangerously harming America. Worse, America has lost trust in government. Again the words of Sennhoz, an economist and not a political shill:
Wherever politics intrudes upon economic life, political success is readily attained by saying what people like to hear rather than what is demonstrably true. Instead of safeguarding truth and honesty, the state then tends to become a major source of insincerity and mendacity.