By Archon Fung
Last Saturday, some 4,000 Americans participated in a national conversation about this country’s growing deficit problem. In ten years, according to some estimates, our national debt is projected to grow to 90 percent of our Gross Domestic Product. Participants in Saturday’s “Our Budget, Our Economy” event — which took place in more than 19 cities across the county — deliberated with one another to articulate the values and policies that should guide efforts to reduce the coming burden on our economy and our children.
AmericaSpeaks, the group that organized the event, will present these findings to President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
It was distressing that many left intellectuals leveled withering scorn at this event because they viewed it as a vast right-wing conspiracy to manufacture public consent to slash public programs. In the Huffington Post, for example, my one-time co-author Dean Baker wrote that the meeting’s organization — its agenda and materials — “virtually guarantees that most of the participants will opt for big cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The results of this song-and-dance will the be presented to President Obama’s… commission which will use it as further ammunition… to gut these programs.” Progressive commentator Roger Eskow explained, also in Huffington Post, that “AmericaSpeaks is part of a well-coordinated media campaign” aimed at “slashing government programs” that will benefit “anybody who makes a lot of money and doesn’t want to pay taxes.” (more…)