The GOP's deficit-attention disorder.

What's happening in our readers' forum.
Dec. 21 2002 1:16 AM

Deficit-Attention Disorder

The Fray on the Republicans' new math.

We're all Keynesians now (again): Michael Kinsley is shocked, shocked to find Republicans in love with deficit spending. The Readme Fray is not. randy_khan and ChasB had the best back-and-forth thread in the Fray, with some down-and-dirty deficit numbers, beginning here. rk's point is one many made, that Republicans never were committed to fiscal responsibility; Chad-B's initial point is that deficits aren't a bad idea right now.

For posters like The_Slasher-8, there is an inherent push to run deficits on both sides of the aisle to fund programs that effectively buy off constituencies (his post is here). WaterAngel was the first to argue that Republicans run deficits as a way of starving Democratic social programs here. Publius addsthis:

Reagan understood that the vast majority of Americans no longer cared whether the budget was balanced and that most would not sacrifice anything to balance it anyway -- not their tax lower tax rates, not their federal aid to education or health, not their local postal service, not their Army bases, not their farm subsidies, and certainly not the wide array of federal expenditures that flowed to corporations in which they had one or another stake.

They still don't care.

Finally, if there is one common point in the ReadMe Fray it is this: everyone regards Reagan budget director David Stockman's Triumph of Politics as the bible for understanding what happens when supply-side faith meets up with horse-trading politics; in the emerging era of deficits, it may be required reading again. An exemplary use from Pacimini here:

[C]onservatives argue that free-spending Congressional Democrats kept the government from enacting the spending cuts that would have brought the [Reagan-era] budget into balance. But that line was decisively refuted by David Stockman's account of dealing away most of his spending cuts to get REPUBLICAN votes for the Reagan program in The Triumph of Politics

No relation to Ty: The Fray is engaged in a two-part discussion of Cardinal Bernard Law's culpability—Should he be in jail? Why was he such a bad manager? As to the first, while Dahlia Lithwick thinks that prosecutors should not be "deterred by a shortage of enforceable laws," several posters disagree. None more than Publius here, who notes that "It's hard to see how someone like Dahlia will be able to return to these pages with any further commentary on the Bill of Rights."

Still, the most striking post was coffee's here, which made the case for a RICO prosecution and came up with the best characterization of the Church's "system" for dealing with pedophiles:

A modest proposal: if ex-Providence mayor Buddy Cianci influence peddling and favor-giving is worthy of criminal sanction, then surely every bishop and cleric who has participated is this macabre underground railroad of cover-up and reassignment deserves jail time also.

As for the Andrew Bushell's contention that the problem with the Church is its lack of business skills, many have argued that the problem is a spiritual one. Tiresias's "By their bottom lines ye shall know them?" does it best:

There was a time self-renunciation made business sense: I perfect myself spiritually now, so I can be with Jesus on the year-end statement. Good deal. But when the eternity side drops out, the equation doesn't balance any more. Why give up something to get nothing? Instead, why not optimize your outcome in the current quarter by enjoying both your carnal lusts and the respect paid to a member of the clergy? …

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.