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Monday, June 04, 2012

Paul Krugman: This Republican Economy

Why isn't Obama making sure that voters know the truth about Republican obstructionism?:

This Republican Economy, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: What should be done about the economy? Republicans claim to have the answer: slash spending and cut taxes. What they hope voters won’t notice is that that’s precisely the policy we’ve been following the past couple of years. Never mind the Democrat in the White House; for all practical purposes, this is already the economic policy of Republican dreams.
So the Republican electoral strategy is, in effect, a gigantic con game: it depends on convincing voters that the bad economy is the result of big-spending policies that President Obama hasn’t followed..., and that our woes can be cured by pursuing more of the same policies that have already failed.
For some reason, however, neither the press nor Mr. Obama’s political team has done a very good job of exposing the con. ...
Overall, the picture ... bears a stunning resemblance to the great mistake of 1937, when F.D.R. prematurely slashed spending, sending the U.S. economy — which had actually been recovering fairly fast until that point — into the second leg of the Great Depression. In F.D.R.’s case, however, this was an unforced error, since he had a solidly Democratic Congress. In President Obama’s case, much ... of the responsibility for the policy wrong turn lies with a completely obstructionist Republican majority in the House. ...
So why don’t voters know any of this?
Part of the answer is that far too much economic reporting is still of the he-said, she-said variety... But it’s also true that the Obama team has consistently failed to highlight Republican obstruction, perhaps out of a fear of seeming weak. Instead, the president’s advisers keep turning to happy talk, seizing on a few months’ good economic news as proof that their policies are working — and then ending up looking foolish when the numbers turn down again. Remarkably, they’ve made this mistake three times in a row...
At this point, however, Mr. Obama and his political team don’t seem to have much choice..., they’re not going to be able to sell a narrative of overall economic success. Their best bet, surely, is to do a Harry Truman, to run against the “do-nothing” Republican Congress that has, in reality, blocked proposals — for tax cuts as well as more spending — that would have made 2012 a much better year than it’s turning out to be.
For that, in the end, is the best argument against Republicans’ claims that they can fix the economy. The fact is that we have already seen the Republican economic future — and it doesn’t work.

    Posted by on Monday, June 4, 2012 at 12:33 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (113)


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