Ben Nelson: When the economy's not strong there's a lot of interest in weakening the economy
Democrat Ben Nelson, a Senator from Nebraska, said the slumping economy and rising joblessness will be factors as Congress considers climate change and health care legislation. They are also driving concerns about the budget deficit, which widened to a record $1.42 trillion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, he said.
“When the economy’s not strong there’s a lot of interest in controlling spending,” Nelson said.
It's obviously not very interesting for bloggers to keep quoting senators and then whining about how nobody has read Keynes. On the other hand, it should actually be a problem that senators -- and not just random senators, but key votes with enormous influence over the design of legislation -- appear to believe that the thing to do amidst a slump in demand is remove government spending from the economy, worsening everything from unemployment to child poverty.
What Nelson is literally saying is that "when the economy's not strong there's a lot of interest in weakening the economy," but this quote is carried in Bloomberg -- surely a paper familiar with economic fundamentals -- and there's no evidence that the reporter followed up, or thought this worth a quick comment. I try not to play "pin the blame on the media" too often, but if Nelson were facing a lot of fire for this sort of thing on Sunday shows and being put on lists of the "five worst senators" because he has the central economic principle of the moment backwards, he'd stopped saying this sort of thing, and maybe even stop believing it.
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