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Salam On Perry

Reihan Salam has been writing lengthy and thoughtful posts that are skeptical of Gov. Perry's record and chances of winning an election against President Obama. I'm less down on Perry at this point.  I think it is possible that he will prove to be shrewder and better able to appeal to persuadables than people think.  Or maybe not.  Salam is surely right that Republicans need to be more careful about tailoring their messages to the sensibilities and priorities of voters that are open to voting for Republicans but who have not fully bought into a conservative narrative.  

One way to do that is for Republicans to distance themselves from the Ryan budget without offering any specific entitlement reforms.  But just ducking the issue of crafting a sustainable budget isn't good enough to meet the moment.  Who cares if Republicans hold office as the US spins into a Greece-like fiscal crisis?  Well, some Republican office holders might care, but what is in it for the rest of us?  So Republicans, if they are to be serious and prudent, need to thread the needle of offering a policy program that will lead to a sustainable federal budget consistent with economic growth and a political strategy (which includes policy formation) that will allow them to win over enough voters to win enough elections to implement and institutionalize that program.  Not easy.   
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Discussions - 2 Comments

The only way the US can have a Greece like fiscal crisis, would involve Gov. Perry's suggestion of a constitutional amendment requireing a ballanced budget.

Alternatively you could get rid of the debt ceilling, and recognize that there is no demand, natural preference for, or independent policy justification for a ballanced or "sustainable" budget, in part because there is hardly anything that is an unsustainable budget. (All budgets denominated in US dollars are sustainable, they just might not be wise.)

There are inflationary budgets (budgets that run large deficits) and deflationary budgets (budgets that run large surpluses).

The federal government should currently be running a much more inflationary budget, and the best shovel ready stimulus would have been a per capita bailout of the states which would have prevented or discouraged these from cutting jobs in the state gov. sector.

Some weighted mixture of unemployment levels, and treasury interest rates should be used. It goes without saying that record low interest (yields) on ten years treasuries and 9% unemployment, make a very strong case for tax cuts and infrastructure development.

Perhaps an irrigation pipeline from the Mississippi to California that served to reduce the all to frequent problems with flooding and draught.

It is ridiculous to have this Mississippi basin that backs up and doesn't drain properly and results in lower corn yields, because farmers can't get into fields to plant, while other folks are dealing with wildfires.

Also we should be developing "Salter Sinks" essentially straws that take colder water to the surface and reduce or eliminate the occurance and severity of tropical storms and hurricanes.

We could also improve our electricity grid. The best way to distance yourself from the Ryan Plan is certainly not to go towards Perry, rather the clear direction is towards Krugman or Mosler and MMT.

Obama's concerns with the deficit have prevented him from robustly seeking to end preventable natural disasters, and he has completly failed in giving rise to the next generation of TVA. So really there has been very little that is Robust government /Franklin Roosevelt/New Dealish.

Obama needs a MVA or a Mississippi Valley Authority. I envision that it would irrigate large portions of the desert west, and enable california agriculture to also ballance ecological concerns, while improving drainage rates and flooding issues from the great lakes down the Miss, improving agricultural yields nationwide, while also implementing salter sinks in the gulf of mexico to reduce hurricane velocity.

The MVA should also create a more uniform regional zonning structure to allow for maximum utilization of resources given geographical/economic realities.

John, the main way for the US to have Greece-like fiscal crisis would be for the ability of the US to continue borrowing at reasonable rates end because the attitude of the bond market. The result would have to be some combination (at least 2 out of three and maybe three out of three) of sudden tax increases, sharp and discontinuous spending cuts on defense and entitlements and inflation (granted that is an option that Greece doesn't have right now.) And while inflation would help with our backward looking debt, it wouldn't help with our forward-looking entitlement costs unless those entitlements were restructured (cut in real though maybe not in nominal terms.) So it wouldn't be quite like Greece, but it would be quite a party

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