One Saturday afternoon when I was maybe five or six, my Dad was reading the paper and I was watching some grim Dickens-ish movie on little our black and white GE console. A tattered, beaten down family was sent to a huge dark, foreboding end-of-the-line-for-you Debtors Prison. Under the big white wig, the judge who sent them resembled Newt Gingrich. It was an ineffably sad story.
As the credits rolled, I asked my Dad, “But how will they make money in prison? If they can’t work, how will they ever pay their debts?” My Dad looked over his paper at me. Not like I was some junior Josephine Stiglitz. I don’t think he said anything. I got what I think was a “you got that right” nod.
This Trumped-up maniacal, medieval drive to reduce deficits by enacting pound-of-flesh, down-to-the-bone austerity measures is creating a worldwide open-air Debtor’s Prison. It is shameful and it is the poor who are shamed. The age old pre-occupation of punishing the poor for the extra vagrancies of the wealthy is ineffably sad and infuriating. I can’t read Paul Krugman if there are sharp knives present.
The cruel collective debt guilt trip is so chickenshit. If I were in charge I would act boldly. I would declare the collective hunch of the debt crisis over, print more money right now and double down my bets on education, invention, infrastructure, healthcare and peace. Jobs would come.
Basta, no mas, enough! And viva Elizabeth Warren!