One cannot but marvel on encountering an issue of major popular concern on which, as now, there is a broad unity as to response.
That issue is the recession and what to do about it.The truly complete agreement by all levels of government is on measures designed to make it worse.
Everywhere across the country governments are tightening budgets, curtailing services, reducing payrolls, furloughing workers - or promising to do so.
Individuals immediately affected, needless to say, have their spending - and resulting support to the economy - promptly reduced.
Many under threat of unemployment are impelled to retrench.
It is better and safer that all levels of government reverse course and unite in making things better.
Accepting the conservative conviction that recessions are soon over, let us have short-run borrowing to sustain services and thus to cover the recession-induced shortfall in revenues. Then if automatic recovery is not assumed, this becomes even more important.
If there are constitutional barriers to borrowing, let there be steps to have them relaxed temporarily.
More important, let the federal government, from its far greater fiscal resources, now establish a special fund, a latter-day Reconstruction Finance Corp., with borrowing power on a scale in keeping with the savings-and-loan bailout.
This would provide grants and low-interest loans to states and localities in the months ahead. Thus would the deflationary effects (and human costs) of the pres-ent course of events be arrested or reversed.
We are now seeking through lower interest rates to encourage private investment; why not proceed with greatly needed public investment?
As a bow to fiscal conservatism, perhaps we should have a higher-bracket tax increase to cover interest and amortization on the borrowing by this corporation.
The expansive effect of the large immediate expenditure would far offset the small restraining effect of the more enduring tax.
The important thing is to get all levels of government off their present deflationary track. They are supposed to be the guardians of the public well-being. Presently, they are united in making it worse.