Monday, February 14, 2011

"Liberals break into two clear camps on Obama's budget"

Greg Sargent(Plum Line):
Reactions on the left to Obama's proposed budget can be rougly broken down into two camps. There is the camp that says he has needlessly capitulated to the GOP's anti-government rhetoric and has effectively ceded the game to the GOP by throwing in the towel on the very idea that stimulus spending is necessary for job creation.

Paul Krugman, for instance, reacts to the Obama budget this way:

The important thing, I think, is that he has effectively given up on the idea that the government can do anything to create jobs in a depressed economy. In effect, although without saying so explicitly, the Obama administration has accepted the Republican claim that stimulus failed, and should never be tried again.

Ari Berman sounds a similar note, arguing: "The president is playing on the GOP's turf. The debate is over cuts vs. cuts. At a time of 9 percent unemployment, neither party is laying out a roadmap for how to put people back to work and lift the country out of its economic morass."

In the second camp are those who argue Obama is cleverly reframing a battle with built-in advantages for the GOP. Jonathan Chait:

I actually see the administration's budget gambit as a subtle attempt to change peoples' minds. The administration is loudly publicizing the fact that it's cutting programs it thinks are necessary. The message, sometimes made explicit, is that the budget actually does not contain a lot of waste. It's filled with programs that have survived many previous rounds of belt-tightening for a reason. If you want to cut the budget, you have to cut useful and necessary things.

I don't think that this will have a big effect. But I do think Obama is trying, in a passive-aggressive way, to do what liberals have demanded. He's explaining to the public that the free-ride view of budget cutting -- we can cut our way out of the deficit by eliminating waste and spending that only benefits foreigners -- is wrong. MORE...

No comments: