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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A TERRIBLE MISTAKE

Obama's decision to call for a spending freeze is a disastrous mistake. It would reproduce the mistake that Roosevelt made during the depression, a mistake that triggered the second downward turn then. And it is politically tone deaf. It aligns him with the Republicans and sets him against everyone calling for a massive jobs program to pull the people [not the banks] out of the hole we are in.

At long last, I have concluded that Obama has lost his way. This is exactly the wrong thing to do right now. I am sure it is what Rahm Emmanuel and Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers are advising him to do, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I never thought Obama was a man of the left, but I was convinced that he was politically smart and emotionally centered, capable of following a course of action even in the face of withering criticism from the right. Perhaps I was wrong.

8 comments:

Terry In Africa said...

Our latest Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman, says the same thing. Big, big mistake. Nice blog, BTW - just found it off of Planet OLLI while researching a class and our local (OLLI at SOU) blog which will online in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

And please, Mr. Obama, just stay true to the (avowed) principles of your party.

Robert said...

Why is it that the military is totally immune from any sort of spending freeze? See the latest TomDispatch "Our Wars are Killing Us" at TomDispatch: .

Robert Shore

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Welcome, Terry. What part of Africa? At this point, for reaso0ns I cannot understand. OPbamas is pursuing essentially a Republican policy. What can he hope to gain by this?

Eggs Maledict said...

I'm increasingly feeling like Obama is kind of spineless at the crunch. There seems to be an unending run of capitulation to GOP positions.

In terms of the spending freeze, I like the idea floated during last year of a 'war tax' - that is, to require wars to be deficit-neutral. Obviously it's impossible to actually do so, but it's equally ridiculous to ask that people's health and education be deficit-neutral, as the Republicans keep insisting. Some things have to be run at a loss. Defence is one and I have no problem with that, at least in terms of realpolitik, but I think education and health should fall into the same category.

Ann said...

Obama may really believe in markets. There are some people like that :-)

Eggs Maledict said...

@ Ann: That's a truly scary thought.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

In a country in which a sizeable proportion of the population believes in the Rapture, and thinks the earth is eight thousand years old, it is perhaps not too surprising that some people believe in markets, although I must in all honesty point out that there is NO negative evidence disproving the coming of the Rapture, and lots of evidence showing that markets don't work.

Eggs Maledict said...

It's threads like this that make me cared to think that America is the most heavily armed nation on the planet. Which, coincidentally, will not be reduced by this freeze, because clearly keeping people alive in hospitals is less important than blowing them up.