I’m fine with Mayor Pete trying to carve out a centrist lane, but Jesus Christ are we going to do this again?
Asked at a town hall here how important the deficit is to him, Buttigieg said it’s “important” and vowed to focus on limiting the debt even though it’s “not fashionable in progressive circles.”
“I think the time has come for my party to get a lot more comfortable owning this issue, because I see what’s happening under this president — a $1 trillion deficit — and his allies in Congress do not care. So we have to do something about it,” Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said in a packed middle school gym, drawing cheers.
Don’t worry, Pete, the media and the Republicans will do their best to have Democrats “own” the deficit that Bush’s war and Trump’s tax cuts have saddled us with. You don’t need to do it for them. But wait, there’s more:
“It’s not fashionable in progressive circles to talk too much about the debt, largely because of the irritation to the way it’s been used as an excuse against investment. But if we’re spending more and more on debt service now, it makes it harder to invest in infrastructure and health and safety net that we need right now,” he said. “And also this expansion, which I think of as, by the way, just the 13th inning of the Obama economic expansion. It isn’t going to go on forever.”
But are we spending more on debt service? Probably in absolute terms, but it’s cheap money. Twenty-year T-Bills are a smidgen under 2%. Why not borrow some more low cost debt to get our social agenda through? That’s every bit as legitimate a position as being a deficit hawk as soon as Democrats have power, so we’re hogtied and can’t do shit. We get no credit for our fiscal austerity, just as Republicans get no blame for deficit spending, which should be a lesson to politicians like Pete who pretend that we might. In other words, some things are “unfashionable” because they are dumb.
While we’re talking about 1988 beltway tropes:
It’s fine to extol the virtues of country living – it ain’t all sweat, piss, jizz and blood. But, as someone who grew up in the “heartland” and spent a couple of months there last year, let me tell you that today’s small town values mainly consist of a bunch of old MAGA hats voting down every bond issue because they don’t want to pay for schools that educated their children. Now that their grown-up kids are Democrats living in a blue dot or a urban center, these old Fox Newsers only care about cutting their taxes, which even Pete isn’t promising. Plus, the fight in 2020 is going to be Democrats getting out our base in urban centers of swing states. That’s why having Iowa and New Hampshire go first just has to end.
(I stole the title for this post from Steve M.)