President Obama’s press conference earlier this week proved a stunning display of political theatre only a political guru as adept as David Axelrod could have orchestrated.
Consider this. Obama demanded of Congress, “no games, no politics, no delays,” while simultaneously outlining a purported jobs plan designed solely to score political points around a proposal he knew Congress could never adopt. It is a plan chockfull of games, politics and delay.
The title of the legislation is the American Jobs Act. The staging was impeccable surrounded as he was by police, firemen, teachers, construction workers and small business owners – all the purported beneficiaries of Obama’s proposal.
The reality, however, is that Obama’s plan would more appropriately be called the American anti-Jobs Act because that would be the ultimate impact were it ever to see the light of implementation.
The cost would be immediate. The economic results of all that increased borrowing and spending would not be known for a year or more. Therefore, the only result of the legislation in 2012 would be higher debts and bigger deficits.
Obama’s announcement was vintage David Axelrod. Set the stage with sympathetic characters, fill the screenplay with language known to evoke an emotional response, direct it at members of the audience who are part of key constituencies, call it substance, but guard against any specific result other than political advantage.
Consider this, the President declares that all of the costs of this program are paid for, but doesn’t tell us what specific cuts to existing programs will occur to provide the funds. The President claims that Republicans have supported all of these proposals in the past, but takes each out of the context in which Republicans originally offered it. Yes, some of the elements of his proposal were supported by conservatives in combination with other features that made them valid. A continuation of stimulus disguised as a spending program does not validate more taxes.
In line with this logic, Paul Krugman opined on This Week with Christiane Omanpour, and further in an op-ed piece in the New York Times last week, that we should continue to borrow and spend because interest rates are low. He makes no calculation about how long this borrowing and spending can go on, or at what ultimate cost to the economy. It’s as if borrowing and spending is within itself a goal. And any adverse results are not to be considered.
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