This Week in the Economy: Bottom Up Economics, Getting Smarter About Deficits

The new issue of Democracy Journal is out today, and - as usual - makes a strong contribution to the national conversation around the economy. Of interest to followers of NDN Fellow Dan Carol's work on bottom-up economic development is Andrei Cherny's piece entitled "Individual Age Economics," Cherny writes:

The task ahead in the Individual Age is to create a Horatio Alger economy, a drive to rebuild the possibility of upward mobility that is at the heart of the American experience. For today's middle-class Americans, life is a game of "Chutes and Ladders" with more chutes than ladders. While individuals have been thrown back upon themselves, both progressives and conservatives have acted as if the economy still functions from the top down. If America is to recapture the economic growth that was Hamilton's concern and the broad equality of opportunity that was Jefferson's dream, our mission must be to forge a new economics for the Individual Age that rethinks our economy from the bottom up.

Read the rest of the current issue here.

Ezra Klein points out that Congressional Republicans are being penny-wise and pound foolish about deficits. It's a crazy situation, but taken in totality, the House Republican economic strategy of cuts this year, health care repeal, and making the Bush tax cuts permanent offers, by independent estimates, less growth, fewer jobs, and more debt.

According to a new Gallup poll, 54 percent of Americans see either jobs/unemployment or the economy as the most important issue facing the country. That number compares to the 13 percent who see the deficit/debt as the number one issue.

And a poll conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago shows that Americans overwhelmingly favor increased spending on domestic programs:

The public's top priority for increased spending - education - provides a contrast, with views across partisan lines holding steady despite sharper concerns about the deficit. Three-quarters favored higher spending on education.

Majorities also supported higher spending on assistance to the poor (68 percent), protecting the environment (60 percent), halting rising crime (60 percent), Social Security (57 percent), dealing with drug addiction (56 percent) or drug rehabilitation (52 percent), and assistance for childcare (52 percent).