Friday, August 12, 2011

Debt is the Symptom Not the Disease

Interesting op-ed by Bill Gross, the bond guy -- and a republican -- which makes his argument all the more interesting. It runs counter to the GOP argument that cutting the deficit and lowering taxes will create jobs and make a better economy. Excerpts:
But while our debt crisis is real and promises to grow to Frankenstein proportions in future years, debt is not the disease — it is a symptom. Lack of aggregate demand or, to put it simply, insufficient consumption and investment is the disease.
He says a lack of demand is being caused by an aging demographic who spends less, globalization, more people in the pool; and technology that replaces human labor.
...Having run up our credit card to keep on spending, we have reached market-enforced limits that force deleveraging. It is not the debt, however, but the lack of global aggregate demand that is at the heart of the crisis.
Moreover, getting rid of debt won't create jobs:
Washington hassles over debt ceilings instead of job creation in the mistaken belief that a balanced budget will produce a balanced economy. It will not.
And we shouldn't be focused on debt reduction NOW:
The president and Congress must recognize that an AA-plus country, to remain AA-plus, must focus on growth, not debt reduction, in the short term. We have a debt problem — but primarily a crisis of aggregate demand. You can read it all in one piece here