John Edward, a resident of Chelmsford who earned his master’s degree at UMass Lowell and who teaches economics at Bentley University and UMass Lowell, contributes the following column.
Does the high cost of housing, fuel, and health care strain your budget? Here is an idea for you. Just spend like crazy and load up lots of debt. That way you will eventually strain your budget so much you will be less likely to waste money on heating oil or medicine you could do without.
It sounds like a foolish idea. Yet, it may also sound like what our government has been doing. In fact, some in Washington have advocated just such an approach to managing our money. Proponents call it “starving the beast.”
Grover Norquist, a tax policy advisor for President Reagan, is often credited with coining the phrase. He said his goal was to shrink government so much that he would then be able to “drown it in a bathtub.”
Others credit David Stockman, Budget Director under Reagan, who was the first to go on record – admitting that starving the beast was policy. He came clean only after leaving office, and he eventually repudiated much of Reaganomics in general. Yet, just a few months ago, in a speech delivered in Boston, Sarah Palin pleaded, “Please, starve the beast!”
read more »