Letter to the editor:

We need a serious economics debate

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 (2:02 a.m.)

Regarding the opinion pieces Sunday on supply-side economics:

The key illustration was balance. I read both sides carefully. The “no” side was written by Mark Weisbrot, the co-director of the “Center for Economic and Policy Research.” Expecting a scholarly treatment, I was first disappointed by the assertions this is “a relatively easy thing to do” and it’s “so simple and basic.” Really? Then I saw words including “inflation-paranoids” and “big numbers — mainly thrown around to frighten people” and “basically free money,” and I knew that this was a political article, not a scientific one.

No inflation problem, with the Consumer Price Index running at 1.7 percent? The CPI doesn’t include energy or food. Been to a grocery store lately?

No “federal debt problem”? The treasury sells bonds to finance our debt on the open market, sort of like an auction. There are always bonds coming due and new ones sold to replace them. Then there is also the deficit, and new bonds must be sold to cover this. If a $100 bond sells for $80, there is an implied interest rate in addition to the stated interest rate. No country has complete control over this; it is a world-wide market.

In addition to our published debt, there are obligations for Social Security, government pensions and such.

No, it is not “easy” and “basic,” and people with serious credentials are not “inflation-paranoids.”

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