Thursday, October 14, 2010

Failure To Communicate

I can think of several reasons to be disappointed -- maybe even angry -- with President Obama. If he and the Democrats are going down this election and the next, I wish it were over those things: wimping out on the public option in health care reform; watering down financial reform; not finding a way to close Gitmo... But when it's because of things that are not -- terrorist sympathizer, Nazi, socialist, all the rest of the Beckofoxian lies and crazy -- it's pretty disappointing.

I acknowledge that when the most-watched news network is a propaganda wing of the opposition, communication of one's message is an uphill battle. Still, you'd think truth would find a way, even among those who actively seek to ignore it.

Paul Krugman's latest is just the latest.

So as I said, the big government expansion everyone talks about never happened. This fact, however, raises two questions. First, we know that Congress enacted a stimulus bill in early 2009; why didn’t that translate into a big rise in government spending? Second, if the expansion never happened, why does everyone think it did?

Part of the answer to the first question is that the stimulus wasn’t actually all that big compared with the size of the economy. Furthermore, it wasn’t mainly focused on increasing government spending. Of the roughly $600 billion cost of the Recovery Act in 2009 and 2010, more than 40 percent came from tax cuts, while another large chunk consisted of aid to state and local governments. Only the remainder involved direct federal spending.

And federal aid to state and local governments wasn’t enough to make up for plunging tax receipts in the face of the economic slump. So states and cities, which can’t run large deficits, were forced into drastic spending cuts, more than offsetting the modest increase at the federal level.

The answer to the second question — why there’s a widespread perception that government spending has surged, when it hasn’t — is that there has been a disinformation campaign from the right, based on the usual combination of fact-free assertions and cooked numbers. And this campaign has been effective in part because the Obama administration hasn’t offered an effective reply.

He adds:

[The administration] has insisted throughout that its original plan was just right, a position that has become increasingly awkward as the recovery stalls.

And a side consequence of this awkward positioning is that officials can’t easily offer the obvious rebuttal to claims that big spending failed to fix the economy — namely, that thanks to the inadequate scale of the Recovery Act, big spending never happened in the first place.

But if they won’t say it, I will: if job-creating government spending has failed to bring down unemployment in the Obama era, it’s not because it doesn’t work; it’s because it wasn’t tried.

And there it is: while teabaggers have been instructed and deceived into raging against out-of-control spending, the facts are exactly the opposite; just as the idea of Obama as terrorist-sympathizer has taken hold when his policies belie it.

1 comment:

Frank Drackman said...


You said the Democrats are "Going Down"....
I'd tell you what Sexual Act "Going Down" refers to, but I don't want you goin into A-Systole when your Chinese-Made-ICD goes into "Safe" mode...Hmmm sounds like a "House M.D." Episode.
OK, I did a little (OK alot) of Nutmeg back in the 80's so let me see if I've got this straight.
But when its Government Spending it "Wasn't actually all that bid compared with the size of the Economy"
So, He's the President(Peace be upon Him) Grow a Pair, and spend some more, make it I don't know, ELEVENTY GAZILLION INFINITY DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!! You could even target it to the close congressional races...
Or Stop Kicking Homo's out of the Military, he's the Commander in Chief, he can do that.

OMG(that means "OMG") I can't wait till November 3rd, to see Harry Reed Goin Down... or that Pat Murray in your own Socialist Repubic...
Doesn't Pat look a little light in the loafers?


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