Any tavern frequented by geezers has a well-oiled fuddy-duddy at the end of the bar blowing wind on the state of ‘gummint’ and the economy. (Not that young men at the end of a bar are well-informed, only that they invariably have other business on their minds.)
Today no trip to the tavern was necessary (at least not for the purpose of hearing the views of some lightly informed guy at random). Scott Milfred (we presume), writing for the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board, treats us to his excitable views on the macroeconomic future. He is terrified by our national debt.
People with memories (sadly this does not include everyone, and certainly does not include Milfred) will recall that terror over the national debt began — actually erupted — approximately 12 seconds after George W. Bush left Washington, having turned his inherited federal surpluses into big federal deficits. And so now for 3 years we’ve heard people who imagine themselves ‘very serious’ people raising very serious concerns about federal debt, although it never concerned them either a jot or a tittle until 12 seconds after the political opposition took power in Washington (following a financial collapse that occurred in 2008, for some reason). Anyway, they say, that’s all in the past. It’s forgotten by those with no memories.
Here’s the truth: there are a lot of people, ranging from fuddy-duddies at the end of a bar, to million-dollar Congressmen, to multi-million-dollar Senators, to multi-million-dollar pundits, to multi-million-dollar TV anchors, who have no training or background or depth or credibility, talking about macroeconomics as if they deserve to be listened to. They’re trying to be opinion leaders. Scott Milfred may be paid more like the fuddy-duddy than the million-dollar pundit, but the whole lot of them is just repeating stuff they’ve heard rather steadily for 3 years, and now hear constantly. From one another. Don’t buy it. DO NOT TAKE ECONOMIC ADVICE FROM GUYS WHO HAVE BEEN WRONG FOR YEARS.