April 19, 2010

Geithner on Meet the Press:

DAVID GREGORY: How viable a political force do you consider the Tea Party to be?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: [L]et me do the positive side of this. Okay? We’ve– just been through eight years where people said– many people said, ‘Deficits don’t matter. We can– we can pass huge tax cuts, pass huge new programs without paying for them.’ That debate has changed fundamentally. Now you don’t hear people say anymore, ‘Deficits don’t matter.’ You don’t hear people saying that we can pass enormously—enormous expansion of government without paying for it. That’s an important change. I think all Americans understand that our deficits are unsustainable. And I think that’ll be helpful as we move to try to make the hard choices to bring them down again.

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Despite polling that shows “62% of them, think that government programs such as Social Security and Medicare are worth their cost to taxpayers”, Geithner thinks the Tea Party activists will be very helpful in making the hard choices on government spending.

And, he’s not just playing around. Or maybe he is. In fact, Geithner wants us all to play Let’s Make Hard Choices and the Fed is doing it’s part to make that happen, commissioning the help of Microsoft exec Steve Ballmer. According to GameSpy,Medicare and Social Security are popular benefits. Paying for them is becoming an increasingly dicey dilemma as the federal budget deficit continues to balloon. In an effort to educate the public on the hard choices that must be made, the government has tapped Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to create a deficit-reduction videogame.”

Expect the Obama administration to continue to co-opt the anti-government message of the Tea Party movement for their own anti-middle class entitlement reform agenda as we move forward. And, get ready to hear the growing drum beat of “hard choices”. As Fed chairmen Ben Bernnake said last week,

To avoid large and unsustainable budget deficits, the nation will ultimately have to choose among higher taxes, modifications to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, less spending on everything else from education to defense, or some combination of the above,” Mr. Bernanke said. “These choices are difficult, and it always seems easier to put them off — until the day they cannot be put off any more.

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