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As reported here and elsewhere, conservatives in the U.S. Congress have been pushing the illusory medicine of austerity a lot in recent weeks. A draconian proposal to slash the federal SNAP program (i.e. food stamps) is just one example of this shortsighted approach in action.

The latest conservative proposals are, of course, predicated on the concept the “we just can’t afford” such programs. As retired Wake Forest economics professor Don Frey argued presusuaively in the following recent takedown of the Paul Ryan budet, however, the scarcity theory undelying the conservative budget proposals is simply and demonstrably wrong.  

Donald FreyA basic economics lesson for Paul Ryan and his allies
By Dr. Donald Frey

WINSTON-SALEM – Recently, the Republican leadership of the U.S. House cancelled a vote on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill (the ironic acronym is “THUD”) offered by their House committee. They knew the bill would fail because of the drastic spending cuts tailored to meet the unrealistic guidelines of the Paul Ryan budget adopted earlier this year.

This Ryan budget was unrealistic, not merely in a political sense, but in a far deeper sense. It was premised on the flawed idea of Malthusian scarcity. Read More

In the latest development in our nation’s interminable federal budget wars, both the House and Senate passed very different plans for the 2014 budget out of committee this week, and both plans now await floor action next Wednesday. The first plan, proposed by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, represents a balanced approach that includes new revenues, while the second plan—proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan—represents an irresponsible approach that gives tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while enacting deep cuts to those public investments that help children, seniors, and the most vulnerable.

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