Floyd Norris objects to framing budget reductions that could make recovery from the recession more dificult as patriotic:
Fiscal Patriotism: Pete Peterson, the former cabinet secretary turned private equity billionaire, has been the No. 1 crusader against deficit spending. The fact that there seems to be a political consensus to cut spending when the economy is weak is a testament to his success.
Today he put out a statement on the deficit reduction commission vote. I have italicized one phrase.The work of this commission has clearly demonstrated the need to address our nation’s unsustainable long-term fiscal challenges, and it has shown that we should begin now. The time for denial, inaction and political gamesmanship is over. The time for fiscal patriotism is now.
There is a long and ignoble history in America of the misuse of the word patriotism, in which those who disagree with the speaker are not just misguided, but unpatriotic.
I hope Mr. Peterson will think better about the use of that phrase, and that others will not pick it up.
The deficit is now large in significant part because the financial system blew up and the government had to pick up the bill at the same time the recession caused by the financial crisis caused tax revenue to fall and social safety net spending to rise. ...
Mr. Peterson did say earlier this week that “we can all agree on goals and objectives such as promoting economic recovery and growth, protecting the most vulnerable and keeping our country competitive.” It would be nice if he made it clear that he does not deem it unpatriotic to think that now is the time to focus on “promoting economic recovery” and “protecting the most vulnerable” rather than on slashing spending.