It is well-known that the Washington Post is obsessed with the budget deficit and that it feels little need to restrict this obsession to the opinion pages (hence its nickname, "Fox on 15th Street"). It once again ran an editorial in its news section as it told readers about the country's "rocketing debt."
The editorial then asked:
"Why can’t America’s leaders, at the helm of such a wealthy country, find a solution that both puts the nation on a long-term path to financial security and preserves the vast array of vital services government provides?"
Of course the obvious answer is that there is no obvious reason that the country should be worried right now about writing down numbers on paper that show the nation will be on a "long-term path to financial security and preserves the vast array of vital services government provides."
The immediate problem facing the country are the tens of millions of workers who are unemployed or underemployed due to economic mismanagement by people like Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. The question that all reasonable people should be asking is why America's leaders can't find a solution that will put these people back to work? After all, Keynes showed us how to restore an economy to full employment more than 70 years ago. The only reason that the country currently faces a large budget deficit and rising debt to GDP ratio is the economic downturn caused by the collapse of the housing bubble.
It is also worth reminding readers that the horror stories of exploding health care costs are entirely the result of the broken health care system in the United States. We spend more than twice as much per person on health care in the United States than in other wealthy countries. If we had the same per person health care costs as in other countries then we would be looking at enormous budget surpluses, not deficits. That is why serious people focus on the problem of health care costs, not budget deficits.
The piece also includes the assertion that:
"Economists say high debt levels can increase the risk of financial crises."
To make this more accurate the statement should say that:
"Economists who failed to see the last economic crisis say high debt levels can increase the risk of financial crises."