An alternative to popular faith
On May 19th, I received the following Email from the Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget:
“Dear friend, I am excited to share with you the latest CRFB initiative that I believe will quickly become a critical tool in educating the public regarding the fiscal outlook and motivating policymakers to take responsible action to put the country on a sustainable course. Today, we are publicly launching our “Stabilize the Debt” budget simulator (http://crfb.org/stabilizethedebt/).
“The ‘Stabilize the Debt’ challenge continues CRFB’s distinguished tradition of engaging policymakers, opinion leaders, the media, and the public in deliberating and discussing what it takes to be fiscally responsible. This new online endeavor is part of our long tradition of developing timely “Exercise in Hard Choices” exercises, and we are excited about our newest version.
“‘Stabilize the Debt’ challenges the user to think about reducing the debt in the longer term and maintaining it at a sustainable level, as opposed to simply balancing the budget for a single year. It promotes thinking about the need for both medium- and long-term term fiscal goals and how to attain them. It uses the goals from the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform from the Red Ink Rising report of stabilizing the debt at 60 percent of GDP by 2018 and keeping it low.
“I encourage you to take the challenge and share with all your friends. Since Congress appears unlikely to produce a budget this year and have the needed debate over fiscal priorities, this simulator can fill that void by enabling Americans to discover and discuss the difficult choices that must be made and engage in a nationwide dialogue on how best to put the country on a sound fiscal course. Sincerely, Maya MacGuineas, CRFB President
“For press inquiries, please contact Kate Brown at (202) 596-3365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Not having had Ms. MacGuineas’s Email address at the time, I wrote the following letter to Ms. Brown on May 19th. And again on May 20th. And May 24th. And May 27th. To date, no answer, which is normal for all debt hawk organizations. Knowing they have no data to support their claims, they simply ignore requests for data, even when, as you’ll see, I offered to promulgate their beliefs:
If you can supply historical, statistical evidence that the U.S. federal debt and deficit need to be reduced or are not sustainable, or that the federal debt needs to be stabilized at “60 percent of GDP by 2018,” I would be glad to post this data on my web site, http://rodgermmitchell.wordpress.com. I also will mail this information to my list of 100+ economics professors, 50 newspaper and magazine columnists, and 30 newspaper and magazine editors around the country.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell”
Try it yourself. Write to any debt hawk organization or any debt hawk politician or economist, and ask for data to support the idea that the debt is too large. In the unlikely event you receive anything that constitutes evidence, please forward it to me.
Subsequently, I did find Maya MacGuineas’s Email address and wrote to her and Ms. Brown. For your interest, here is a calendar of my requests to supply evidence and my offer to send this evidence to economists and the media all over America:
May 19: Wrote to Ms. Brown
May 20: Wrote to Ms. Brown
May 24: Wrote to Ms. Brown
May 27: Wrote to Ms. Brown
May 28: Wrote to Ms. Brown & Ms. MacGuineas
June 1: Wrote to Ms. MacGuineas
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity