In her latest interview with Democratic Perspective, Heather Parton (aka Digby) revealed the secret to her amazing success as a blogger: hard work. “I work seven days a week. I write every single day,” she said.
“I’m sympathetic to anyone trying to start (a blog) in this environment. It was much easier when I started,” she continued. “The best thing to do is to write a lot and try to be part of various communities talking about the things you’re interested in. You’ve got to be active in comment sections. You’ve got to be active in forums. You have to dedicate yourself to crashing through the mindset out there. It’s very, very difficult, but people do break through.”
Turning to politics, we asked how deficit reduction became the focus of this recession when the traditional economic response is stimulus and raising taxes. “It’s an excellent question,” she responded, “and it’s one that we don’t ask enough. I know it’s stymied the economists – people like (Dean) Baker and (James) Galbraith.”
“We did a little bit of stimulus,” Parton said, “But we offset it with a bunch of cuts at the same time, which meant that the stimulus we had was much less effective than it would have been. The politics at the time were such that we were lucky to get any stimulus at all.”
When asked about Speaker Boehner’s recent threat to hold the country hostage again over the debt ceiling, Parton replied, “I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a very, very disturbing sign.”
“We’re dealing with kind of a bizarro world version of what’s going on…that the safety net programs are the cause of the recession, when, in fact, many of them like Medicaid, unemployment insurance and food stamps are not the cause. They’re the result of the recession,” said Parton.
“I think the idea behind the conservative approach to this is we’re not going to do it now …we’re going to cut it in the future so our kids won’t have to bear the burden of them,” she said.
Parton continued, “Somebody’s going to pay for elderly people to live somehow, unless we adopt the attitude that we’re going to put ‘em on an ice flow. Or just send them out walking in the desert with a small bottle of water and see how they do. Unless we adopt that as our official policy, the elderly have to be cared for. It depends on who’s going to pay for it, how much suffering they’re going to do.”
When we noted that the main cuts in the Ryan Plan are intended to affect poor people, Heather responded, “There’s a really interesting right wing view that the poor people are not contributing enough and therefore they deserve it. They’re working poor, but there’s this concerted effort to build resentment toward them.”
“This goes all the way back to the beginning of the New Deal really,” said Parton. “They never accepted Social Security. There’s just an ideological, philosophical desire by some of these vastly wealthy people to ending what they consider to be socialistic programs.”
“The truth is that Social Security is simply not in bad shape,” she said. “The irony is, they say there’s going to be a shortfall in 2037 or 2039, and it will only be able to pay out something like 80 percent of what’s supposed to be paid out, so we need to cut now so that it will be 100 percent; meaning that we’ll pay less now because there’s going to be a shortfall later. There’s absolutely no logic to this but somehow or another it’s passing through. Even some of the smartest people in the world are saying, yes, we need to do this. It’s ridiculous. Social Security is outside the normal budgeting process. There’s no reason for it even to be discussed in the context of deficit reduction.”
“Social Security isn’t just some nice middle-class people retiring comfortably and traveling the world,” Parton continued. “Social Security supports lots of people who are disabled and can’t work. In order to have a dynamic economy you have to give people a little ability to take risks. If you’re living in a country where your healthcare is precarious and extremely expensive, where there are no pensions, no Social Security, how are you going to start a business? How are you going to take any risks? It’s not going to happen.”
You can read more of Heather Parton’s thoughts at http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/.