Here is Krugman on the state of the economy and Obama's policies:
There are now three big questions about economic policy. First, does
the administration realize that it isnât doing enough? Second, is it
prepared to do more? Third, will Congress go along with stronger
On the first two questions, I found Mr. Obamaâs latest interview with The Times anything but reassuring.
belief and expectation is that we will get all the pillars in place for
recovery this year,â the president declared â a belief and expectation
that isnât backed by any data or model Iâm aware of. To be sure,
leaders are supposed to sound calm and in control. But in the face of
the dismal data, this remark sounded out of touch.
And there was no hint in the interview of readiness to do more.
real fix for the troubles of the banking system might help make up for
the inadequate size of the stimulus plan, so it was good to hear that
Mr. Obama spends at least an hour each day with his economic advisors,
âtalking through how we are approaching the financial markets.â But he
went on to dismiss calls for decisive action as coming from âblogsâ
(actually, theyâre coming from many other places, including at least
one president of a Federal Reserve bank), and suggested that critics
want to ânationalize all the banksâ (something nobody is proposing).
I read it, this dismissal â together with the continuing failure to
announce any broad plans for bank restructuring â means that the White
House has decided to muddle through on the financial front, relying on
economic recovery to rescue the banks rather than the other way around.
And with the stimulus plan too small to deliver an economic recovery
… well, you get the picture.
When Bush didn't save New Orleans, it was because he was a Republican. Roll eyes, here. (Never mind that the Governor was a Democrat.) Of course government didn't work well between 2000 and 2008. Insert snicker, here. Some people think government doesn't work well when Republicans are in charge because Republicans (fill in the blank here with your own partisan vitriol).
But once Obama got into the White House, I think some people actually thought it would be different. He cares, after all, and he has such a high IQ.
Krugman is going to have to come to grips with the possibility that maybe it wasn't Bush that made government so incompetent. It was government.
It takes a long time for government to spring into action. It takes a long time for government to do stuff. It even takes a long time for government to spend money. On top of all that, it is very hard for politicians, Republicans or Democrats, to say the words, "I made a mistake." So even though I sympathize with Krugman's view that Obama doesn't seem to realize that we're in a bigger mess than he may have thought and the solutions so far aren't working, I don't really expect a change of course until, oh, sometime close to the next Congressional election. Close means a year or so in advance.
The title of the Krugman's piece is "Behind the Curve." That's the essence of government. Behind the curve. Surprised? You shouldn't be.