Friday, August 6, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Josh Marshall has never been someone I thought of as a flaming progressive. He's always been one of those Serious People, the folks who basically follow conventional wisdom wherever it goes. To read something like this ought to be something that Democratic politicians, particularly in DC, find alarming:

Now, before going any further let's be totally candid and concede that getting [the stimulus bill] through was no walk in the park. Even when Obama was strong, his team really had to work at getting this one passed. Since then congressional Republicans have followed a concerted and deliberate strategy of starving the recovery through various means including stopping unemployment benefit extensions. But it was always clear there was only going to be one real bite at this apple. And it just wasn't enough. Why the White House predicted a max out at 8.5% unemployment I'll never know since that was not only a politically unhelpful number, it was also deeply unrealistic. I suspect a lot of Democrats are going to go down to defeat because of it.

Looking Over the Edge

[emphasis mine]

It wasn't easy to pass, and I think as Marshall is implying here, my philosophy was, and still is, in for a penny, in for a pound. When you get right down to it, if he could sell $800 billion, he probably could have sold just about any number that was in the range of the output gap, which was estimated at $2 trillion at the time. So, yes, the Obama Administration screwed that pooch big time.

Where I disagree, at least slightly, is that Obama and the Democrats have had at least a couple of chances since to recover. One was the health care reform bill, which I wrote a year ago could have helped Democrats if it had done real good for people right away. Instead, many of the "benefits" of the bill weren't going to kick in until 2014. Things that benefit people that far down the road, even assuming they don't get shot down somewhere along the way, aren't going to help the party that passed it win the next election. As I do so often, I'm stating the obvious, but the Democrats appear to have ignored it.

Their other chance was to at least fix the financial sector. Not only did they wait until this year, after benefits of a reformed financial sector would have kicked in, but they made that bill half-assed, too. It had some good features, but it was nowhere near what was needed.

So, in the end, the Democrats did too little, way too late. And when Josh Marshall thinks his favored party is screwed, I think it's time for them to invest in some KY.

Afterword: Speaking of unemployment numbers, check out this YouTube of the growing unemployment in America over the last two years. As Ian Welsh mentions it might have been more interesting to see the total unemployment numbers instead of the one that's always bandied about, but it's still remarkable how much things have changed:

I like how it gets all black and purple, like a peach that's gone bad.

It's in HD, so you can put up on your computer full screen and watch how things are going in your home town.


Expat said...

Great graphics for the efficacy of the bankrupt economic ideology of the neocon's neoliberalism sponsored by The Chicago School of Economic Phrenology.

Cujo359 said...

I'll say this for them, they understand demographics as well as P.T. Barnum did. After some hard experience, folks may figure out that the Chicago School don't know what they're talking about, but every minute there's another new convert born.