The theory touted by those obsessed with cutting federal spending is that once the budget is "in order," financial markets will soar and businesses will start hiring again, because they have some sort of vague renewed "confidence" in the economy. If that's the case, then why did the market plunge in the last week as the debt limit debate got closer to the end game, and even after a deal was reached?
It's because consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of our economy, declined last month by two-tenths of a percent, the first decline in two years. What was needed to avoid a double-dip recession was more domestic investments and pump priming, not cuts. The debt deal does exactly the wrong thing and sends just the wrong signal at exactly the wrong time.
So I'm proud of our Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin for recognizing that and voting against a bad deal for the American people.
Economists declared the Great Recession over two years ago, which has not done much for the public's confidence in the dismal science. There are all kinds of indicators of a healthy economy, but there are only three that really matter:
- How many people are unemployed?
- Are middle-income Americans seeing an increase in their real wages and their share of the overall wealth of the nation?
- Are we creating a ladder up for those in the lowest paying jobs or those without jobs?
By all three measures, we're still in a deep recession and the debt deal will only make it worse.