NPR’s Welna: Spend with Abandon … Until We’re Like Greece?

At least two things stuck out at me while listening to a portion of the Diane Rehm radio show yesterday as I drove home from a football game: the lack of economic literacy of a lot of people in America, the fact that some of those same people are reporters for taxpayer-funded National Public Radio.

(And, it’s a safe assumption that these people are good proxies for discerning the thought processes for many if not most people in the Obama administration – which explains our 9 percent unemployment and pathetic economic growth – only 1 percent currently, which is lower than our population growth, which means our per capita standard of living is declining, at least for now. Yesterday morning it was reported that no net new jobs were created for the latest quarter.)

One guest on the show in particular stands out. He’s a voice commonly heard on NPR, named David Welna. He doesn’t think that we have a deficit problem because, based on what I discern from his comments, we’re not yet facing a debt crisis like Greece. Welna seems to think that you can keep borrowing money with abandon. It’s only when the day comes when you’re so manifestly profligate that no one wants to lend to you anymore (or only lend to you at high interest rates), like what Greece is going through now, that you should think about reining in your spending.

David Welna: there (is) no deficit crisis because borrowing (is) very easy. Interest rates are extremely low. I’ve been in countries where there definitely was a debt crisis, and they couldn’t borrow any money….But that is not the case in the United States right now. …We haven’t had a recovery that’s adequate enough and that requires further government stimulus.

Diane Rehm: So you’re saying that Republicans succeeded in making the case for an artificial debt crisis?

Welna: They really set the narrative that we are broke when, in fact, right now, this is the best time the government has actually had to borrow money …

Actually the goal is to avoid a situation like what Greece is going through now, for obvious reasons (obvious to everyone except for people like Welna). We’re headed that way with current levels of spending, even without the additional trillions of dollars in additional money that Welna wants to borrow.

The federal government used to regularly borrow about 15 percent of what it spends. Now under Obama, it’s regularly borrowing about 40 percent of what it spends. Three trillion in additional debt in Obama’s first two years as president (compared with three trillion in eight years under Bush II, which was bad enough as it was). Welna, and probably Rehm, think all this is an “artificial” crisis – all a sham, and that there’s actually nothing to worry about because we’re not like Greece yet. If they had their way, we’d be borrowing 50 or 60 percent of what we spend.

While listening to the radio show, I was thinking that what if they were talking about, say, some complicated surgical procedure, even though they had no training in medicine whatsoever. They’d be laughing stocks. Well it’s the same thing – only it’s the American economy they were talking about with no training in economics whatsoever. Or, if they ever did have any training, they deserved an F.