We keep hearing that “we’re broke”—a good way for politicians to make a deceptive case for cutting taxes on the rich and cutting social programs. But the fact is, “we’re not broke,” writes EJ Dionne in the Washington Post. “Yes, nearly all levels of government face fiscal problems because of the economic downturn. But there is no crisis.” There are plenty of ways to fix the budget problems we face—like raising taxes on the richest 1%.
Instead, John Boehner and Scott Walker constantly take the “broke” position, and journalists rarely challenge their assertion—even though “we have a $15 trillion economy.” The median income, as Al Franken has pointed out, has dropped over the past decade; “many of those folks are going broke, yet because ‘we’re broke,’ we’re told we can’t possibly help them,” Dionne writes. Boehner and Walker have distracted us “with an arresting metaphor. The rest of us are dupes if we fall for it.”