Fiscal Bluffers (Guest Voice)
Simon Johnson is quite correct. There are no fiscal conservatives in America, least of all on the political right. Over there we have a colorful display of fiscal cowards, fiscal nellies, and fiscal deniers, but not fiscal conservatives. No way. They’ve demonstrated from Barry Goldwater right through to (but not necessarily including*) Barry Obama that actually dealing with fiscal problems is something they have ducked and plan to continue avoiding.
Following President Obama’s State of the Union address, there is a great deal of discussion about whether we might now be edging our way towards fiscal responsibility.
Unfortunately, most of our political elite – both left and right – is still living in a land of illusions. They cannot even seriously discuss what would be required to bring our true fiscal position under control – remember that most of the recent damage to our collective balance sheet was done by big banks blowing themselves up. No one who refuses to confront the power of those banks can be taken seriously as a fiscal conservative.
There was a brief moment we need to acknowledge if we want to understand our history (and understanding of our current dilemma). That moment came at the very, very beginning of the tea party movement when groups, who later became part of that movement but who were still a loose, politically unaffiliated, independent-leaning group, openly recognized how badly both parties were handling Wall Street. Weakness and toadying overcame these groups very quickly when they were bought out by Fox, Armey’s army, and other corporate flacks — and ill-used as the egos of the individual leaders within the movement spoiled the movement itself.
*We won’t know until President Obama is president emeritus.