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Hullabaloo


Sunday, May 27, 2012

 
Wanker of the decade strikes again

by digby

Somebody forgot to tell the Moustache of Understanding that Americans Elect is over because nobody liked it:

Former Obama budget director Peter Orszag notes, to get the economy moving again, what we’ve needed for the past two years is a plan of “combined boldness” — another stimulus focused on infrastructure that would grow jobs and enhance productivity combined with a credible, bipartisan plan for trimming future growth in Medicare and Social Security and reforming taxes to get our long-term fiscal house in order, as the economy improves.

In short, we needed more stimulus paired with some version of the Simpson-Bowles deficit plan. It is highly unlikely that you could “get one passed without the other, and you shouldn’t want to anyway,” said Orszag. Together they would launch the U.S. economy.

Obama, in fairness, tried a version of this with his “grand bargain” talks with the House speaker, John Boehner, but when those talks failed, Obama made a huge mistake. He should have gone straight to the country and repeated over and over: “I have a plan that will create millions of jobs and send the stock market soaring — near-term stimulus plus Simpson-Bowles — and the Republicans are blocking it.”

Obama could have adapted Simpson-Bowles, but symbolically it was vital to embrace it in some form as his headline deficit plan, because it already enjoyed some G.O.P. support and strong backing from independents, who liked the way it forced both parties to compromise. Had Obama gone to the country with more near-term stimulus married to Simpson-Bowles, he would have owned the left, independents and center-right. It would have split the Republicans and provided a real alternative to the radical Paul Ryan-Romney plan.

Instead, Obama retreated to his left base, offered a stimulus without Simpson-Bowles and started talking about “fairness.” The result has been a muddled message that has alienated independent/center-right voters who put him over the top in 2008. Don’t get me wrong: I want fairness, but fairness that comes from a growing economy and comprehensive tax reform not from redividing a shrinking pie.

In sum, Obama’s campaign right now feels as though it were made in a test tube by political consultants. It’s not the Obama we admire. Rather than pounding the country with “I have a plan” — a rebuilding stimulus plus Simpson-Bowles — which would be an Obama-like message of hope, leadership and unity that would put him on higher ground that Romney can’t reach because of the radical G.O.P. base, Obama is selling poll-tested wedge issues. I don’t think it’s a winner for him or America.


I guess Friedman hasn't been paying attention. Nobody but Villagers and rich people (many of whom are the same people) want this Grand Bargain bullshit. And that's because on some level everyone else knows it's a con of epic proportions. We don't "need combined boldness." We just need boldness. It's the combined part that's going to screw everything up.

You either believe in stimulus or you don't. If you do, borrow the money at very cheap rates and hire a bunch of people to do something. When the economy gets going again and people are working and paying taxes, then raise taxes to pay down the cheap loans, if that's even necessary.

This endless haranguing about deficit projections long into the future, even if it is "combined" with another inadequate stimulus, is in service of one thing and one thing only --- dismantling the sad remnants of the American welfare state once and for all. We know this because the whole argument is riddled with lies and misconceptions --- and fabulously wealthy celebrities like Tom Friedman are either too uninformed to understand this or are in on the con. Either way, they are accomplices to a great crime that's being perpetrated by the American people.

So far, Americans of both the left and right, for very different reasons, have come to the common sense conclusion that none of the elites can be trusted and it's better if these people do nothing at all than enact this plan. More power to them.


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