What's Right with Kent Conrad?

by Craig Jennings, 7/26/2010

Despite his misguided suggestion that the Bust Tax Cuts for the wealthy be extended, Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND) also believes that more spending in the short-term should trump policies to begin paring back the national debt.

The immediate threat is not the debt. It’s weak aggregate demand. Sometimes it’s very hard for people to get their mind around two conflicting realities. What you need to do in the short term is diametrically opposed to what you need to do in the longer term. In the longer term, we need to bring down deficits and debt, but in the short term, we need more spending, and my judgment is that you don’t want to be raising taxes in a downturn. So continue tax relief, certainly to the middle class. And then, as the economy really recovers, we need to continue the task of bringing down our debt and deficit long-term.

Absolutely right. First things first: let's get the economy moving again and get people back to work before we start throttling the deficit. In fact, this message can't be repeated enough, so it's good to hear Conrad not only gets it but that he's out there pushing it.

(click to enlarge)

That statement, by the way, is part of an interview he gave to the Washington Post's Ezra Klien. Conrad elaborates a bit more on stimulus spending, so read the whole thing if you're interested in what the Budget Committeee Chair is thinking.

Chart from Calculated Risk

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