Friday, September 09, 2011

Can Obama raise the cost of GOP stonewalling?

Whatever alchemy goes into Moody's economist Mark Zandi's calculations, his simple declarative forecasts do have a way of framing political stakes. Here's the top line as served up in Mike Allen's Playbook:
MARK ZANDI for Moody's Analytics, "An Analysis of the Obama Jobs Plan": "President Obama's jobs proposal would help stabilize confidence and keep the U.S. from sliding back into recession. The plan would add 2 percentage points to GDP growth next year, add 1.9 million jobs, and cut the unemployment rate by a percentage point. The plan would cost about $450 billion, about $250 billion in tax cuts and $200 billion in spending increases. Many of the president's proposals are unlikely to pass Congress, but the most important have a chance of winning bipartisan support. ...

Adding two percentage points to GDP growth would would go a long way toward winning Obama reelection. So here's the question, posed by Obama's promise to take his plan to the people: can he make the cost of sabotaging the economy higher for the Republicans than the cost of not sabotaging the economy? In other words, if they stonewall the whole program, including payroll tax cuts, can he effectively blame them for the economy's continued (or accelerated) stall?

Put another way: could Republican sabotage of the economy reach a tipping point at which the majority of Americans recognize it for what it is, forcing them to desist?

2 comments:

  1. I think just about everyone is missing a key element from Obama's speech: he plans to use the Super Committee to get an up or down vote on his bill. He will put together a Grand Deal, including Medicare/Medicaid cuts and increasing taxes on the wealthy, adding up to $2 trillion or more, and the AJA will be an integral part of the plan. Republicans will howl that the Super Committee is being subverted, but I'm not sure "there are any rules in a knife fight." (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). Wrote about this in my blog - http://jimstuartsblog.blogspot.com/

    Keep up the great work.

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  2. "In other words, if they stonewall the whole program, including payroll tax cuts, can he effectively blame them for the economy's continued (or accelerated) stall?"

    This would be the inversion of the grand unified theory of economic determinism that dominates the thinking of so many political actors and observers on both the right and the left today. Though most who repeat it seem to congratulate themselves for their realism, few to none seem to recognize just how deeply cynical and, in the end, anti-democratic, in a certain sense inhuman or nihilistic, probably crypto-fascist, the theory is. If the Republicans did go all in on obstruction, and the economy sputtered out, AND they were rewarded, then that would be the end of American democracy. It's unlikely that they will go "all in," which may be too bad, since it would at least disprove the theory.

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