Hendrik Hertzburg in this coming week’s New Yorker on President Obama’s approach to our current economic problems:
“[H]is all too civilized, all too accommodating negotiating strategy …[is] the most disappointing aspect of his Presidency. His stimulus package asked for too little and got less. He has allowed deficits and debt to supersede mass unemployment as the emergency of the moment. He has too readily accepted Republican terms of debate, such as likening the country to a household that must ‘live within its means.’ (For even the most prudent householders, living within one’s means can include going into debt, as in taking out a car loan so that one can get to one’s job.) He has done too little to educate the public to the wisdom of post-Herbert Hoover economics: fiscal balance is achieved over time, not in a single year; in flush times a government should run a surplus, but when the economy falters deficits are part of the remedy; when the immediate problem is what it is now–a lack of demand, not a shortage of capital–higher spending is generally more efficacious than lower taxes, especially lower taxes on the rich.
This was clearly written before whatever half-assed plan is “compromised on” later today but I doubt that will require changing a word of it.