Baker Interview – Podcast October 16, 2023

The Deficit, Inflation, Media, And Republican Dysfunction. Karen McClelland and Steve Williamson welcome acclaimed economist Dean Baker back to the show. Baker is co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

They begin by discussing the federal deficit. “It’s not as though it’s a catastrophe,” says Baker. “But it would help to have a lower deficit and, again, the obvious way would be through increasing taxes. We have very low taxes, particularly on high-income people. But the first and foremost thing is let’s get people to pay their taxes. And it’s one of the things that has been striking to me is how much resistance Republicans have put up to Biden’s proposal simply to give the IRS enforcement capability. They wrote these stories about IRS storm troopers. They’re total fiction. I mean, literally, the vast majority of these people are going to be accountants working in an IRS office and tax lawyers. They’re not going to be knocking down your door to inspect your house to see if you didn’t pay taxes on God knows what.”

Regarding inflation, Baker says, “We have a higher wage economy and prices are going to be higher. If we look back, our last big bout of inflation was the late 70s. Well, in the 80s we had Morning in America. People were celebrating. Prices didn’t go back down. We had 4 percent inflation in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was re-elected in a landslide.”

Baker notes that even though the economy is very good, Biden hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves. He explains, “You have the right doing everything they can to trash the economy with the idea that’s going to improve their prospects against Biden…it’s largely echoed by the center, and needless to say you have the social media where it’s non-stop. It’s hard to combat.”

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