Thus, the White House's decision to raise spending and raise taxes is neither Keynesian nor rational. It is however, similar to its decision in 2009 to only stimulate the economy by $800 billion. At the time, I (and some others) publicly argued that if the president was following Keynesian policy, then the logic of that policy required that the stimulus should be in the vicinity of $2 trillion dollars -- not less than $1 trillion -- to replace the more than $2 trillion dollars in lost private sector aggregate demand.
Since then, while most of the public (and most of us conservatives) have argued that the stimulus did not work, the White House has made the argument that things would have been much worse if they hadn't enacted the stimulus plan -- thus implicitly conceding that if they had stimulated more in 2009, the economy would be better than it is now.
So what can one deduce has been the White House policy reasoning these last two and a half years? First, in early 2009, provide Keynesian stimulus to the economy, but not enough to gain robust growth. Second, in late 2010, don't raise taxes for fear of inducing further insufficiently robust growth. Third, in middle 2011, raise taxes even though there remains insufficiently robust growth. No wonder the left is as baffled, flummoxed and frustrated, as is --for different reasons -- the right.
It would appear that the White House's learning curve is paralleling the economy: flat-lining with the risk of a double dip.
Despite all reason to the contrary, it may be that Plouffe really was defensive, that he and his team really are overconfident. Perhaps, despite everything, they feel no need to experiment or change an iota in their flat-lining policy proscriptions.
Perhaps, rather than trying to change the economy or the world, they are confidently guided by the expectation that the Republicans simply will chose an unelectable nominee and solve all the White House's problems. Blanche Dubois, in Tennessee William's play "Streetcar Named Desire," expressed that strategy in another way: "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
If I were the White House, I would not rely on the kindness of the GOP strangers. I would remind them that Blanche Dubois recited that strategy as she was being sedated and led off to a mental hospital.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.