Edward Lazear: The deficit matters because it tells us how much we’re borrowing, and since we save less than we invest, it means we borrow from abroad. But more importantly, we really need to be focused on the level of spending.I'm sure I can't be the only one to think it odd that two eminent economists have to tell those in charge of the public treasury something every teenager knows.
Even if we closed our deficit – and that would mean that we’d raise taxes – we still wouldn’t be helping the economy. Taxes hurt the economy. Deficits hurt the economy. Once we’ve declared that we’re going to spend at very high levels, we’re really between a rock and a hard place.
[Hat tip: Peter Robinson at NRO.]