But let’s be frank. It’s getting harder and harder to trust Mr. Obama’s motives in the budget fight, given the way his economic rhetoric has veered to the right. In fact, if all you did was listen to his speeches, you might conclude that he basically shares the G.O.P.’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it. And maybe that’s not a false impression; maybe it’s the simple truth.The 2012 "choices" are a disaster. You can take your right wing Republicanism "straight" by voting for the Tea Party candidate, or you can take your right wing nuttiness quietly and genteelly by letting Obama be your choice. But if you want to side with the botton 99%, you won't have a candidate in 2012. Nothing on the centre-left to choose from. Tragic!
One striking example of this rightward shift came in last weekend’s presidential address, in which Mr. Obama had this to say about the economics of the budget: “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.”
That’s three of the right’s favorite economic fallacies in just two sentences. No, the government shouldn’t budget the way families do; on the contrary, trying to balance the budget in times of economic distress is a recipe for deepening the slump. Spending cuts right now wouldn’t “put the economy on sounder footing.” They would reduce growth and raise unemployment. And last but not least, businesses aren’t holding back because they lack confidence in government policies; they’re holding back because they don’t have enough customers — a problem that would be made worse, not better, by short-term spending cuts.
In his brief remarks after Thursday’s meeting, by the way, Mr. Obama seemed to reiterate the Herbert Hooveresque view that deficit reduction is what we need to “grow the economy.”
Watching Mr. Obama and listening to his recent statements, it’s hard not to get the impression that he is now turning for advice to people who really believe that the deficit, not unemployment, is the top issue facing America right now, and who also believe that the great bulk of deficit reduction should come from spending cuts. It’s worth noting that even Republicans weren’t suggesting cuts to Social Security; this is something Mr. Obama and those he listens to apparently want for its own sake.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Krugman Tongue Lashes Obama
In his NY Times op-ed, Paul Krugman blasts away at Obama and his capitulation to the Republicans: