One-time Obama devotee Bob Herbert excoriates the Obama White House for squandering the political opportunity to address the jobs crisis. "They did not focus on jobs, jobs, jobs as their primary mission," Herbert moans.
In the meantime, Paul Krugman invokes the spectre of the third great depression -- guess why? Because government isn't spending enough!
I'm certainly not casting aspersions on these columnists' sanity, but isn't a classic definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over, and then expecting a different result?
Doesn't Herbert remember that the stimulus was presented as a jobs bill -- that the President predicted that passing it would create 4.1 million jobs? Doesn't Krugman realize that the $816 billion "stimulus" was one of the largest in history? And that before he demands yet more taxpayer money for the government to squander, it might be nice to take notice of the fact that a huge chunk of the original funds haven't been spent?
The problem with the President's "stimulus" and spending isn't that it wasn't presented as a jobs bill (as Herbert charges) or didn't spend enough (as Krugman claims). The problem is that it rests on a faulty premise: That a large, unwieldy, out of control government can successfully "rescue" an economy. Sorry, guys -- only the private sector can do that.
During President Bush's tenure, Democrats tried to claim the mantle of being part of the "reality based" community. Ironically, they're the ones who keep believing -- with little evidence to the contrary -- that the government can "create" prosperity. It can't. All it can do is tie the hands of the productive, and redistribute their wealth.
The goal of responsible public policy-makers is to find the right balance between establishing some level of transparency and fairness without oppressing the economy and quashing private initiative. I think it's fair to say that the Washington Democrats have failed, miserably, in finding such a balance.
What's more, the Democrats' approach requires faith in another fairy tale: That of big government competence. And as some of the more honest liberals are beginning to understand, in most cases, that's just a myth.
And no amount of left-wing fingerpointing and second-guessing can change that.