Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Big Picture's Quick Response to Obama's Economic Speech

Editor's Note: I forgot to copy and paste this into the previous entry. It is not a conspiracy to silence The Big Picture. Or is it? -The Strike

Since the Strike conveniently didn't actually put in my take on Obama's address, I thought I should add it:
I agree with your conflicted feelings on this speech. Still, it's better than anything he's said in months, mostly because he hasn't said much of anything. I think that politically it gets the country's mood pretty well, at least from a Conventional Wisdom standpoint of what the country's mood is. Good to hear at least some talk about the New Foundation. But still, there's not a clear narrative for what he's doing, hard to see how some small-business tax credits and stuff like that will move the entire economy toward a place where people have good secure jobs. And substantively, nothing in there about bigger measures to encourage jobs, only passing mention of using TARP money for Main Street, little about extending unemployment benefits, little about massive investments that will produce jobs, improve infrastructure, really DELIVER for people, address their anxieties about the direction of their lives and the country. What about massive credit-card debts? What about foreclosures? What about wages that are too low? What about a huge unemployment and underemployment rate? What about so many people having their career paths perhaps permanently disrupted? Nothing about pressuring the banks on credit cards or foreclosures or to make loans. Nothing serious about Wall Street (you read the article in the Times today about how the rating agencies, which are incredibly corrupt and were key contributors to the financial crisis, are making tons of money again and are going to escape any regulation?). Very small-bore. Very Clinton in '95-'96. If that's the best he can do, not nearly good enough.
But I did like this attack on Selective Deficit Disorder: Despite what some have claimed, the cost of the Recovery Act is only a very small part of our current budget imbalance. In reality, the deficit had been building dramatically over the previous eight years. Folks passed tax cuts and expensive entitlement programs without paying for any of it - even as health care costs kept rising, year after year. As a result, the deficit had reached $1.3 trillion when we walked into the White House. And I'd note: these budget busting tax cuts and spending programs were approved by many of the same people who are now waxing political about fiscal responsibility while opposing our efforts to reduce deficits by getting health care costs under control. It's a sight to see.

No comments:

Post a Comment