The Great Obama Mystery

As Dakinikat has explained again and again and again and again, the problem our economy faces is that millions of Americans don’t have any money to spend because they don’t have jobs. Our economy runs on consumer spending. When people don’t have jobs, they don’t have money to spend on consumer items. That hurts our economy. It’s pretty simple, really.

But President Obama doesn’t understand simple basic economics. He’s already decided that high levels of unemployment are “structural.” He thinks our problem is that the government is spending too much money. Yesterday Obama gave another big ol’ nothingburger of a speech on how he’s giving away the store to negotiating with the Republicans in Congress.

Now, I’ve heard reports that there may be some in Congress who want to do just enough to make sure that America avoids defaulting on our debt in the short term, but then wants to kick the can down the road when it comes to solving the larger problem of our deficit. I don’t share that view. I don’t think the American people sent us here to avoid tough problems. That’s, in fact, what drives them nuts about Washington, when both parties simply take the path of least resistance. And I don’t want to do that here.

No, Mr. President, what is driving Americans “nuts” about Washington is that you and your Republican pals seem to be determined to crash the economy. Another thing that drives American’s “nuts” is that you haven’t lifted a finger to do anything about jobs since you took office. All you’ve done is take care of your superrich pals so they’ll donate to your next campaign.

I’ll bet you don’t even know that the latest PPP Poll shows that most Americans want to raise taxes on higher income people.

Poll data by the Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling released Wednesday said voters in Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Minnesota back hiking taxes on the wealthy — even for people with incomes as low as $150,000.

The respondents were asked: “In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose raising taxes on those with incomes over $1,000,000 a year?”

Nearly 80 percent of voters in the four states backed the idea.

And, BTW, Senator Reid, I’m pretty sure these voters want real tax increases, not phoney “sense of the Senate” resolutions. Back to Obama’s mealy-mouthed speech:

I believe that right now we’ve got a unique opportunity to do something big — to tackle our deficit in a way that forces our government to live within its means, that puts our economy on a stronger footing for the future, and still allows us to invest in that future.

Most of us already agree that to truly solve our deficit problem, we need to find trillions in savings over the next decade, and significantly more in the decades that follow. That’s what the bipartisan fiscal commission said, that’s the amount that I put forward in the framework I announced a few months ago, and that’s around the same amount that Republicans have put forward in their own plans. And that’s the kind of substantial progress that we should be aiming for here.

And on and on, bla bla bla…

I don’t know who you mean by “most of us” Mr. O, but I’m pretty sure most of us citizens don’t support the findings of your right wing cat food commission bipartisan fiscal commission.

President Obama just doesn’t get it. He might be able to learn a little bit about economics if he would just hire a few actual economists to advise him. But the big O thinks he already learned all he needs to know by listening to Ronald Reagan back in the ’80s. All of his economics advisers have left the sinking ship resigned, because Mr. O thought he knew better than they did. Remember this quote?

In his biography of Obama, “The Bridge,” David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, quotes White House senior adviser and longtime Obama friend Valerie Jarrett: “I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”

You need to snap out of it, Mr. President; because our country is in big big trouble right now, and you’re really not as smart as you think you are.

Paul Krugman is an actual economist, and his hair is on fire. He can’t figure out what the President has against Keynesian economics.

I’m not alone in marveling at the extent to which Obama has thrown his rhetorical weight behind anti-Keynesian economics; Ryan Avent is equally amazed, as are many others. And now he’s endorsing the structural unemployment story too.

To those defending Obama on the grounds that he’s saying what he has to politically, I have two answers. First, words matter — as people who rallied around Obama in the first place because of his eloquence should know. Yes, he has to make compromises on policy grounds — but that doesn’t mean he has to adopt the right’s rhetoric and arguments. The effect of his intellectual capitulation is that we now have only one side in the national argument.

Second, since Obama keeps talking nonsense about economics, at what point do we stop giving him credit for actually knowing better? Maybe at some point we have to accept that he believes what he’s saying.

Why is Obama doing this, Krugman wants to know. It can’t be because he’s just stupid, can it? (That’s me, not Krugman)

Anyway, now Obama is handling the decisions about the economy all by himself. He’s even decided to “take the lead” in the budget talks with the Republicans–probably because he didn’t think VP Biden was caving quickly enough to Republican demands. Today,
CBS News reported that Obama wants to give the Republicans twice as much as they were originally asking for.

Two Democratic officials familiar with the negotiations over a deal to raise the debt limit said Wednesday that President Obama wants the final deal to be bigger than the $2 trillion deal that has been the focus of negotiations so far.

In fact, they said, Mr. Obama wants the deal to save the government as close to $4 trillion as possible.

Mr. Obama said Tuesday that lawmakers have “a unique opportunity to do something big,” and a deal to save the federal government $4 trillion would certainly qualify. The officials said the president believes “these moments come around at most once a decade” and that “you can’t run away from an opportunity like this.”

According to the officials, Mr. Obama believes that a larger deal would actually be easier to get through Congress. His thinking, they indicated, is this: Any major deal, whether it’s for $2 trillion in cuts or $4 trillion in cuts, will cause significant pain for both parties. But a larger deal allows backers to argue that despite their misgivings, they’ve taken a major step toward dealing with the deficit and debt problem.

Doesn’t Obama understand that cutting that much government spending is going to create even more unemployment? Is this man insane? No, he’s just a right wing Republican. Actually, maybe that does mean he’s insane.

25 Comments on “The Great Obama Mystery”

  1. WomanVoter says:

    GRAPH: Who has 2nd lowest corporate taxes in the developed world? Why, we do!

    Corporations don’t pay taxes in some cases and even get millions back (CORPORATE WELFARE) , while they try and take Social Security & Medicare away from us (American Workers and their Employers paid for these insurance programs!).

  2. WomanVoter says:

    Oh, thanks for the post Dak…keep them honest and shed light on the lies.

  3. WomanVoter says:

    Since he gave away the store on ‘Health Care Reform’, which is costing me dearly and which is a joke, as The Ed Show is now going to do/cosponsor ‘Free Health Clinics’ (For the 45 million without health insurance and the growing number as more and more can’t afford insurance after Obama’s ‘Reform’).

    Now he is going to give away, what doesn’t belong to them, and which is insurance that people paid for: Social Security and Medicare.

    • paper doll says:

      Now he is going to give away, what doesn’t belong to them, and which is insurance that people paid for: Social Security and Medicare

      much like the insurance business generally…you get ahead in those firms by rejecting the most clains .

  4. djmm says:

    BostonBoomer — The President has just offered the Republicans deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare:

    He is worse than any Republican president I remember.


    • bostonboomer says:

      Jesus H. Christ!

      Sorry if I offended anyone….

      • djmm says:

        I am not offended — that was my response, too. Is he insane or just Republican? I don’t know but Democratic congress people would have to be insane to follow him or allow him to get away with this. If they do, the 2010 elections will look like a cakewalk in comparison to 2012.

        I will vote for anybody except Obama.


      • Branjor says:

        Jesus H. Christ!

        On a raft!

  5. WomanVoter says:

    taylormarsh Taylor Marsh
    Post and Times: Obama to Serve Up Social Security in Debt Talks –
    I warned you. #news

    This is outrageous, how can they give away people’s hard earned money that they and their employers paid into Social Security and Medicare only to have Obama give it away! Unbelievable!
    War on women, War on Working People!

  6. Peggy Sue says:

    I think we can finally conclude without exaggeration that POTUS is calling on his inner Reagan, the president Obama openly said during the 2008 primaries he most admired.


    Because Reagan did something big, transformational–he started the unraveling of America and was canonized for the effort. The whole anti-union, pro-corporate, government is the problem and can’t do anything right schtick was pushed and continues to be pushed by Reaganites, libertarians, Milton Friedman clones. Privatize it and it will come. It’s like a virus that’s taken over the world. Even the Greek PM stated that:

    “The financial system [the one that will loot Greece, raise taxes, lower wages and replace her sovereignty] is more powerful than the will of the people.”

    That’s an admission for the ages.

    So, am I surprised that Obama wants to double down, give the GOP even more than they’ve demanded? No. He’s depending on his instincts, his financial wizardy now.

    And just like the graphic accompanying BB’s terrific essay, the mask is off. The FDR or JFK or Lincoln comparisons never worked. It was Ronnie Reagan, all along.

    Can’t wait to see how the Obamacrats spin this one.

  7. mablue2 says:

    This is really an excellent post BB. Good job.

  8. mjames says:

    I think he’s stupid, really, really stupid. This so-called “plan” isn’t going to work and anyone with half a brain and an ounce of objectivity knows it.

    Yes, of course, he’s a Wall Street puppet and all. But he’s a puppet partly because he’s so stupid. Yes, we can throw in the arrogance and Messiah complex and the overwhelming laziness – but, when you strip it all away, the jerk never learned how to reason. He’s stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Whatever native intelligence he once had was gone years ago. He doesn’t understand the problem, and he doesn’t understand how to reason his way to a solution. His team is bailing, most likely, because of his stupidity.

    Bachmann will never get the nomination. The media will expose her craziness (did you ever see her crazy eyes?) just in time to hand the nomination to the only other guy left standing – flip-flopper creep Romney. That’s the new chosen one. Then Jeb in 2016. If climate change hasn’t completely destroyed the planet by then.

  9. Pilgrim says:

    Excellent lucid writing here. You write in a way — sort of like Paul Krugman — that makes the dismal subject understandable.

    I also enjoy your other writing on psychological topics.

  10. Woman Voter says:

    #GOP: Orrin Hatch: The ‘Poor’ Should Do More To Shrink Debt, Not The Rich.
    #fb #P2 h/t @AZProgress

    And they claim they are good Christians… This is who Obama is trying to please.