The blame game

Shorter Andy McCarthy: How dare government bail out government!

Have no doubt about it, the geniuses who brought us Bush, Iraq, deregulation, exploding deficits, executive overreach, torture, growing inequality and a shrinking economy have decided that the correct response to the current financial crisis is to blame the Democrats for their commitment to the necessity of cleaning up the mess.

Well. What can you say?

McCarthy's own words reveal just how disconnected from the world of grown ups the conservative movement has become:
So in addition to rewarding irresponsible lenders and borrowers, we taxpayers are now to be "protected" by buying the toxic debt of states, cities and municipalities. It's one thing to throw a life-line to the credit industry; local governments, by contrast, have the ability to cut spending drastically or raise taxes if their inhabitants want government services.

Good to know that he supports having elected officials pay an electoral price for their support of failed policies, but the real news here is McCarthy's total lack of understanding of the problem faced by government at the state and local level.

To begin with, many states have laws on the books which prohibit them from running a deficit. In practice, one thing this means is that funding problems at the state level get passed down the line to local government.

And it turns out that there are some structural differences between government at the local and federal level. For example, unlike the federal government, municipalities lack the power to expand or contract the money supply in response to economic circumstances. This makes them like businesses in that they can experience cash flow problems. Moreover, like businesses, there are practical limits on how much money a local government is able to borrow.

Well, McCarthy says, too bad for them. Who needs schools, police, roads, courts, elections, trash collection, or any of that crap? Not Andy!

In the short run, the Democrats have been doing what they have to do to avert economic disaster. Starting January 21, the Democrats will work around the clock to repair the underlying damage that the Republican Party has done to our financial system. In the long run, that's all going to go for naught if the failed economic ideology of American conservatism is allowed to escape from this debacle with the slightest shred of legitimacy.

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