Mr. Michael Wolf, in his letter, decries The Advocate’s editorial views “that add to the mass of misinformation … on the subject … (of) the debt ceiling. …” He then proceeds to add much misinformation of his own. Not his own, really, for much of what Mr. Wolf would pass off as economic analysis is, in fact, a recitation of tea party talking points and dogmatic nonsense.
Paul Samuelson, a renowned and much-respected economist, once wrote (tongue firmly in cheek) that one could make an economist out of a parrot simply by teaching it to say two words: “supply” and “demand.” Tea partisans pretend to have achieved their economic bona fides by ceaselessly chanting, “expenditures” and “revenues.” In the tea party canon, a few expenditures (defense, prisons, border fences, oil-depletion allowances etc.) are “good,” while virtually all revenues (taxes) are “bad.” Thus, even though Mr. Wolf calls the national debt “catastrophic,” and castigates both The Advocate and the president for not considering the reduction of expenditures (Really? What is the “sequester” all about, then?); he does not even mention revenue increases. How convenient, would say the “Church Lady!”
Bogus economics aside, Mr. Wolf engages in tried-and-true tea partisan tactics:
1. The copious use of inflammatory adjectives (“reckless,” “deceitful,” “heedless,” “catastrophic”) to stand in for factual proof of one’s arguments.
2. Proof-by-asseveration (“The national debt and its monetization by the Fed are the main causes of the precarious economic condition of our country today.”), in which he asserts some thesis and — ipso facto — it is true, without the need of performing the bothersome task of presenting factual evidence.
3. Misrepresentation, whereby he states something as true, when in reality it is false (“The more our debt increases, the more investors all over the world lose confidence in our securities.”). The evidence would have pointed Mr. Wolf to the fact that foreign investors are today more eager to buy and hold U.S. T-bills than ever before.
And any loss of confidence that has occurred (See: Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. credit rating) was caused by the congressional antics of the tea partisans and their feckless Republican cousins during the several “debt-ceiling crises” that they have foisted upon our nation.
Our national debt merits much discussion, as does a host of other economic and social issues. But said discussion must not be allowed to be subverted by ignorance of documented fact or by willful disregard for the truth.
Rodrigo M. Solórzano Sr.