Yet another Economic WTF! Post

For more than the past two years, I’ve been arguing that Obama has been continuing the Bush/Cheney policies in nearly every possible policy area. However, in the economics realm, he’s following the Republican Myth of Reagan.  Ronald Reagan raised taxes 5 times. Ronald Reagan exploded the federal deficit and upped the debt ceiling 17 times in his two terms in office.  Ronald Reagan was probably the last of the presidents that openly used policies that were lopsided, wrongly transcribed Keynesian economics.  Keynesian theory shows the necessity of running surpluses in boom times, balanced budgets in times of full-employment equilibrium, and deficits in recessions and out of necessity in times of war.

Obama fits the mythic image of Republican’s version of Reagan more than the real Ronald Reagan himself.  It is only by the rule of soft bigotry–one that says all black people are some kind of monolith fitting a Sharpton/Jackson stereotype–that drives polls that say that Obama is too liberal, a communist, or a typical Democrat.  Obama continues to refit himself into the stereotype of Ronald Reagan. Period. My favorite place to reference this argument is the Black Agenda Report .  It one of the very few authentic left wing site representing a left wing agenda for America’s poor and black population.  The authors of BAR have had his number for a very long time.  A huge portion of the population just does not want to cast Obama and his policies in the light of a conservative black no matter what the evidence. This is our quintessential problem right now.

I’ve been watching the evolution of Paul Krugman who writes today about “The Lesser Depression” at the NYT.  Despite his mounting, published, and well discussed evidence, he still can’t just come out and say that Obama would be better placed in the Republican party. Obama is taking the same steps that the Herbert Hoover Administration took right before the Great Depression.  We are backtracking the way the Roosevelt administration did around 1936.  None of these policies led to economic confidence or growth. They led to job, financial, and economic loss. They made our country significantly worse off then and this senseless repeat is doing the same thing now.

So we have depressed economies. What are policy makers proposing to do about it? Less than nothing.

The disappearance of unemployment from elite policy discourse and its replacement by deficit panic has been truly remarkable. It’s not a response to public opinion. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 53 percent of the public named the economy and jobs as the most important problem we face, while only 7 percent named the deficit. Nor is it a response to market pressure. Interest rates on U.S. debt remain near historic lows.

Bruce Bartlett–an economic adviser to Ronald Reagan–says that Obama is Richard Nixon.  I think this is generous.  Nixon had a more liberal approach to the nation’s health care challenges, the environment, and to spending.  Nixon accepted the Great Society Policies.  Reagan supported the Great Society Policies and reinvigorated two of them.  Obama obviously doesn’t even support the basics.  He is negotiating behind the back of Senate and Congressional Democrats so that the clock will run out before they can object. They will most likely kowtow to the right’s agenda YET again. Bartlett argues that Obama belongs in the ranks of Republicans.  I agree with this.  I just don’t think he’s as liberal as Nixon or that he is even “moderately conservative”.  Like Reagan, Obama has said one thing and done completely another.  Obama wants to be the Ronald Reagan that never was.

Liberals hoped that Obama would overturn conservative policies and launch a new era of government activism. Although Republicans routinely accuse him of being a socialist, an honest examination of his presidency must conclude that he has in fact been moderately conservative to exactly the same degree that Nixon was moderately liberal.

Here are a few examples of Obama’s effective conservatism:

  • His stimulus bill was half the size that his advisers thought necessary;
  • He continued Bush’s war and national security policies without change and even retained Bush’s defense secretary;
  • He put forward a health plan almost identical to those that had been supported by Republicans such as Mitt Romney in the recent past, pointedly rejecting the single-payer option favored by liberals;
  • He caved to conservative demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended without getting any quid pro quo whatsoever;
  • And in the past few weeks he has supported deficit reductions that go far beyond those offered by Republicans.

Perhaps this is why these CNN Poll results show that the country is fed up with the Republican Congress as well as Obama’s approach to the economy.  People are reluctant to overcome their stereotypes of black politicians, but know something is essentially wrong.  Recent hopes to change the direction that Bush/Cheney took our country have brought us more than just more of the same. Liberals approval of Obama is dropping while independent approval of newly elected Republicans is dropping all over the country.  (See BostonBoomer’s Thursday Morning Post.)  I suggest this shows support for my hypothesis.

President Obama’s approval rating falls to 45%, driven in part by dissatisfaction from the left with Obama’s track record, a new CNN/ORC International poll released today suggests.

The new poll shows that 38% disapprove of Obama because he has been too liberal, but 13% percent say he has not been liberal enough, nearly double those who felt that way in May. His approval rating among liberals is at 71%, an all-time low for his presidency. Overall, those who disapprove of Obama is at 54%, tying an all-time low hit just before November’s midterm elections.

Poll respondents’ negative opinions weren’t reserved just for the president, though — 55% of all Americans have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, a 7-point increase since March. And only 37% feel the GOP’s policies would move the country in the right direction, a 9-point drop since the start of the year.

We’ve seen the Democratic Congress pulled along by an at best center-right policy on Health Care Reform. They were also party to the abomination of reinstating the Dubya Tax Cuts for Billionaire’s plan.  Now, they are screaming about their irrelevancy in this Debt Ceiling Debate.  The right question now is only this.  How far to the right will this deficit plan be? The necessary answer can be found in these questions. How thoroughly will Obama and congressional Republicans decimate the country’s social safety nets and its successful social insurance programs?  How detached will this plan be from using revenues from the beneficiaries of 30 years of bad policy to halt subsidizing the globalization of US Treasure?  How much longer will we continue to subsidize economic colonization with our wealth to places that only drag our wages down, decimate the global ecosystem, tolerate wars that make the world safer for US corporations, and import our jobs and investments? If Bartlett wants a realistic vision of a Republican President that fits Obama, I suggest Warren G. Harding.

19 Comments on “Yet another Economic WTF! Post”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Excellent rant! We are totally screwed, unfortunately.

    • northwestrain says:

      Give the bastard time — as low as he sinks — he can and will go lower. The money bags are rewarding him — look at all the money flowing into his re-election.

      Seems like the GOP has their candidate — why the hell bother with an election?

    • Hey,we are screwed is our house line. And indeed we are.

      BTW Reagan? RINO. Nixon? Far to left of Clinton. RINO. Obama? To right of Nixon. Republican.

  2. foxyladi14 says:

    makes me cry..we could have had Hillary.except for the robbery. 😥

  3. northwestrain says:

    Ed’s got quite a rant about the 80% what do NOT want Soc Security touched.

    And I do not even like Ed — I never ever listen to him — except this one time.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    President Obamney?

    Obama isn’t Reagan, he’s Romney.

    • northwestrain says:

      Gee why is anyone disappointed in 0bowma (remarking on the link above). Party Unity My Ass — it wasn’t there — many of us KNEW 0bowma was never a liberal.

      But it is great that some people are seeing the light. 0bowma is probably a cross between Romney (who managed to get elected in Massachusetts.) and Prez. Wilson. 0bowma is to the right of RayGun.

      • Fannie says:

        Yup, I remember being told back in 2008 how we just weren’t getting it. I was beyond insulted, especially when they wouldn’t ask Obama the tough questions. Hell anyone could see he wasn’t prepared then, and wasn’t about change. He was a self serving man then, and it was his fault, about the Michigan ballot……….charade then, charade now.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Feministe Feministe

    links for 21-7-2011: A must read piece on the harmful policies affecting women living in poverty in america.

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    I posted this on the evening news but thought I should post it here. House Speaker Pulls Out of Talks to Raise Debt Ceiling –

    • dakinikat says:

      I watched Obama’s press conference. More of the same. Boehner is saying Obama moved the goal posts again. Hard to tell what’s going on.

    • jawbone says:

      It’s very scary that we have to depend on the instransigence of Republicans to stop Obama from raising the Medicare age to 67. But, to Obama, we’re all just “interest groups.”.

      All those unemployed, under employed holding on by their fingertips until they turn 65 would be shit out of luck. Two more years without insurance. Meh, just another interest group. Fuck’em.

      I thought I heard on NPR this morning that Obama said Pelosi had agreed to doing so, but I can’t find that in a transcript of Obama’s Friday 5PM announcement. He was making the point that he’d made all these great offers to Boehner.

      Maybe Boehner is just a bit more savvy politically and realizes that even if Obama offers it, if the Repubs agree they will have a shitstorm on their hands with people furious about raising the Medicare age.

      Obama is most likely to the right of Boehner, if so!!!

      It was an early segment on today’s Weekend Edition.

      Was anyone here listening? Did I misremember, hear things wrong?

      Can’t get replay until noon.

      BUT — if it is true that Pelosi has agreed on that, that does it completely. NO MORE DEMS.

      From the transcript:

      OBAMA: Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. We believed that it was possible to shape those in a way that preserved the integrity of the system, made them available for the next generation, and did not affect current beneficiaries in an adverse way.

      In addition, what we sought was revenues that were actually less than what the Gang of Six signed off on. So you had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that they’ve been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes — tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base.

      So let me reiterate what we were offering. We were offering a deal that called for as much discretionary savings as the Gang of Six. We were calling for taxes that were less than what the Gang of Six had proposed. And we were calling for modifications to entitlement programs, would have saved just as much over the 10-year window. In other words, this was an extraordinarily fair deal. If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue.

      But in the interest of being serious about deficit reduction, I was willing to take a lot of heat from my party — and I spoke to Democratic leaders yesterday, and although they didn’t sign off on a plan, they were willing to engage in serious negotiations, despite a lot of heat from a lot of interest groups around the country, in order to make sure that we actually dealt with this problem. (My emphasis)