Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mark This Down

The news for the Democrats in the upcoming election looks bad. It is shaping up to be a historical moment. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you have probably already pieced all this together. For those that don’t read this blog (and the links), let me make a short summation.

The Great Recession began under President George Bush. A Democratic Congress and President Bush bailed out the financial system (TARP) before Obama got elected. It isn’t what I would have done but it worked. For the most part. Except for unemployment.

The stimulus Bill -- passed under President Obama -- was too small. The Republicans -- by filibuster -- made sure it was. Unemployment stayed high. This half-a-loaf approach has made it seem as if the stimulus failed. It’s like saying you got kicked out of your apartment for only paying half the rent. Paying rent wasn’t the problem. Not paying enough was.

A second stimulus was needed. There have been some things done, but nothing as nearly massive as what was needed to cure unemployment at nearly 10 percent. If the Republicans win the House (as appears likely), there won’t be any more stimulus. There will be a long, slow, painful period -- much like what Japan has suffered for the last decade.

If you won’t believe me -- if you won’t believe the people I point you towards; Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, perhaps you’ll believe the Financial Times of London. At least their chief economics correspondent, Martin Wolf.

You can read the story (free registration is required) or watch the video.

”That’s very disturbing...

...we’re looking at many, many years of weak growth given the lack of stimulus...”

You’ve been warned. In 10 years, you won’t be able to say you weren’t. You won’t be able to feign ignorance -- that you didn’t know what could happen -- or your inability to change the course of history. Getting people to vote is done one person at a time. Changing someone’s mind isn’t a two-minute process. It’s a long process requiring patience and persistence.

”I think most of the criticisms are just pure politics. They have nothing to do with a serious analysis of what’s happened.”

You can be helpless or you can vote. You can be helpless or you can try to convince your friends and neighbors that they might want to listen to what economic experts are saying. Instead of Fox News. Or Glenn Beck. Or their local candidate.

Mark this down. In 10 years you’ll want to remember this period so you can tell your kids -- how we succeeded. Or how we failed. How poisonous politics triumphed over rational analysis. How fear defeated intelligence.

Or how Americans proved everyone wrong. How ordinary Americans saw through all the rhetoric and made the rational choices. You’ll want to know how America led the world out of The Great Recession.

Our fate hangs in the balance. As always, it is in the hands of the American voters. Make sure you are one of them. Take somebody with you.

Don Brown
October 28, 2010

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