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.