Robert Naiman: Obama Should Name Paul Krugman Treasury Secretary

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Many American liberals and economic populists are on guard in the wake of the fiscal cliff deal between Congress and the President on taxes and revenue, because what Washington expects to negotiate in the next two months is cuts. With the “sequester” automatic Pentagon cuts postponed rather than canceled, we’re still operating in the framework of the Budget Control Act, which mandated $1.2 trillion in reduced projected government debt over ten years. The deal on revenue took care of half of that. The Washington understanding is that the other half will come from cuts.

The two most dangerous proposed cuts from the point of view of the long-term interests of the majority of Americans are the proposal to cut Social Security benefits forever by reducing the annual cost-of-living increase (“chained CPI”) and the proposal to cut Medicare benefits forever by raising the Medicare retirement age to 67, forcing more seniors onto the private insurance market. Many establishment Republicans want these cuts; many Wall Street Democrats want these cuts; the President has signaled his potential willingness to agree to these cuts as part of a “big deal.” Most liberal groups vehemently oppose these cuts, and the majority of Americans would never go along with these cuts – cutting benefits for working families for which they have already paid through their payroll taxes – if they have effective say.

Krugman speaks to The Commonwealth Club of California, in San Francisco. May 22, 2012. (Photo by Ed Ritger / flickr)

But two months from now, automatic cuts to Pentagon discretionary spending will again loom, tax increases will likely not be on the menu of negotiations, and Republicans may again try to wield the purported threat of default by saying that they won’t raise the debt ceiling without big cuts, including cutting Social Security and raising the Medicare retirement age.

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  1. Haha.. had to laugh at that real quick… Obama would never allow such a thing to happen. Krugman is a true economic progressive and Im sure people are beginning to realize that Obama isnt. If fact Krugman has been Obama’s biggest critic on many of these economic battles he’s been having with the house GOP.

    I dont know how much I like Krugman because Im not a fan of this Keynesian economic system at all.. Im not a total free market guy because I can see and admit that greed plays a huge role if the structure and sanity of the markets, but I will say that if we are forced to stay with this fractional lending system of debt, that a progressive like Krugman would at least make sure it works to benefit the whole, instead of benefitting the 1% at the expense of the whole (as it currently works).

    That would be a total miracle if the White house even mentions his name (which I know they wont because the white house is closer to being right wing than it is to being progressive).

  2. Actually, the real deal is that the whole “debate” about “too much spending” and the tax cuts is just a facade…a big farce. They could appoint DONALD DUCK or KERMIT THE FROG…and unless they change the ideology of WHY they are lying about “the U.S. is broke” …and “we need to cut off the poor folks benefits” — not much will change. Working people are BROKE, but there are wealthy people hoarding trillions of dollars.

    The only “SPENDING” that the GOP is talking about is…that which benefits the working people, children, students, disabled, Vets, and the poor.

    It’s just easier not to really look at the BIG SCAM that the rightwing nuts have run on all of us….and how the biggest TRANSFER OF WEALTH in history has gone to the top few millionaires and major corporations.

    Conservatives: aka: RE-THUG-LICANS act to protect the WEALTHY from higher taxes …and to get them subsidies. If Congress would STOP THE WARS…bring our troops home… cut off all the “Gov’t WELFARE” (subsidies) that go to OIL, COAL, GAS, NUCLEAR, rich FARMS…and other wealthy people… (AND REFORM THE PRISON SYSTEM) that alone might cut the deficit in half. But that is not the “spending” that the GOP is whining and complaining about…they want to cut the funds for schools, the elderly, children, health care, and unemployment insurance.

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