A future-noir style Ridley Scott ad, written to follow the 1986 State of the Union address in which President Reagan called for deficit reduction, even as he expanded it, has finally been getting the attention it deserves:
But the focus should be not on the dramatized consequences of deficit spending, or even the general idea that deficits should be avoided. The focus should be on how the goal of deficit spending can slip away from even a well-intentioned populace. Our imprisoned character makes that clear:
…but no-one was willing to make the sacrifices.
Two days before election day, we would all do well to view this as the takeaway message. If balancing the budget is to be a real issue, not just a new bloody shirt for the GOP to wave, it’ll require that the new Republican majority, once elected, do the one thing they’ve steadfastly refused to do: tax us, and by “us,” I mean the wealthy.
Making Bush’s tax cuts permanent will deepen the deficit, and there’s no room for principled disagreement on this point; letting them lapse would be the first of many politically courageous acts any GOP majority would have to undertake to prove its bona fides. Without this or some commensurate act, it’s hard to tell what the next two years will look like. But standing on the precipice, it doesn’t look good.