Senate Minority Leader Doesn't Realize Spending Cuts in Recession Hurt Economy

This should have been a headline in news articles everywhere. According to the NYT, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell complained that spending was the problem driving the deficit and expressed his concern that a deficit commission could lead to tax increases and that, "raising taxes in the middle of a recession is not a good idea."

Anything that reduces demand in the middle of a recession will hurt the economy. This is true of tax increases but it is even more true of government spending, which has a more direct impact on the economy. If Senator McConnell really is unaware of such basic economics then it would be appropriate to have a news story highlighting his ignorance. This would be equivalent to not knowing that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the September 11th attack. Mr. McConnell's gaffe on this issue is certainly far more newsworthy than items like President Obama's comment on how white working class people were "bitter" during the primaries. That comment was the topic of many news stories.

--Dean Baker

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