Friday, October 20, 2023

Why are Republicans in such a panic about the federal deficit?

I think one reason why the conservative caucus of the GOP is so impossible to deal with is that they are panicked about the federal debt. Yes, it's a daunting number.

There's another way to look at things where that huge debt isn't necessarily a problem. It's just money which is a human construct.

If we run out of money, we can print more. Problem is, too much money, chasing same goods and services, causes inflation so that's what we should think about. Not the debt, but inflation.

In the past few decades, inflation has been quite low in spite of (basically) printing money. Officially, the inflation rate has only been around 2%. No need to panic about this situation for several decades. Bush had his two wars and we still got our Medicare.

In reality, however that 2% figure has been a bit deceptive as home values and a few other things like health insurance costs, have been going up at a greater clip. Low interest rates, in spite of the federal debt being high, have fueled the housing bubble; low interest rates made possible by printing new money.

Quite a few people had been insulated from the true brunt of that inflation if they were homeowners grandfathered into owning a home when homes were a lot less expensive.

Renters have been hit harder from that inflation as well as young people trying to buy, if they haven't inherited money. Lots of people were also sheltered, from those decades of inflation in health insurance premiums, if they were on Medicare or a good employer provided health plan.

Since the pandemic, even more money has been created so overall inflation in wages, food costs and so forth have started to tick up. Things reached a tipping point.

This inflation, for instance in wages helps worker keep up with the rising costs of housing and healthcare. That stimulation of the economy was designed to keep it from going into depression due to the pandemic, but it also led to supply chain bottlenecks.

During the pandemic, the phrase "supply chain" entered my lexicon.

Inflation blipped up temporarily to over 8%, I think, for around 2 years. That heightened the panic that has been happening all along about the budget.

Now that overall inflation is subsiding again as the total rate is around 3%. The Federal Reserve has been tightening the money supply, rasing interest rates and attempting to cool the overheated housing bubble. We've backed off from the tipping point we were at just after the pandemic. Inflation seems to be going back down to where it's nothing to panic about, in my opinion, but some Republicans are still in a panic.

As far as I'm concerned, money is just a tool. It's not a god. We worry too much about money which is just a human created concept.

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