Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

August 12, 2013

LYONS: What Obama should learn from Tom Cotton?

(Continued)

What’s worse? If Cantor knows he’s blowing smoke or doesn’t know?

Neither did anybody make Obama embrace the misleading metaphor about how in tough times governments need to tighten their belts like families.

However, almost every family borrows to finance long-term purchases; government needs to invest for the future too.

Unlike your family, the government can create money. It’s precisely when private enterprises can’t invest that government should. By accepting the “belt tightening” metaphor, Obama even made it harder to credit the (too small) 2009 stimulus bill’s role in halting the economy’s free-fall.

With an allegedly “Socialist” president talking like a GOP banker, the radicalism of the Republican right has become invisible to many. In Arkansas, we have a Washington libertarian hero named Tom Cotton running for the U.S. Senate. Tax-hating billionaires are promoting him like an “American Idol” contestant. He announced from his (childhood) home in Yell County -- one county west of where I live.

Previous to World War II, this bucolic paradise was basically the Third World. Like much of the rural South, Yell County had hardly any paved roads, and no electricity, telephones or public utilities. Also no physicians, dentists nor even veterinarians. People grew what they ate using horse and mule power. They raised chickens, butchered hogs and steers, canned vegetables, made their own clothing, music and booze. Education was rudimentary. It’s easy to be nostalgic about this kind of life if you’re never tried it.

Then came the accursed federal government with its highway and bridge building, its rural electrification, sewer and water grants, its agricultural agents and crop insurance, its Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, its Ozark and Ouchita National Forests, its Arkansas River navigation system and Lake Dardanelle. State parks, public universities, Pell grants, student loans, food stamps, etc.

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