Beltway conservative elite's focus on President Barack Obama's fortunes are misplaced
Does Charles Krauthammer think tea partiers would rather wait another two years before taking actions to turn the economy around? Apparently, as he characterizes the deal struck with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) over extension of the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits as a "swindle":
Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 — and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years — which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?
The columnist this rooster respects so much that we dubbed him "The Master" back in 2002 is at his cynical worst as he evaluates the main business of the Lame Duck Congress solely through the lens of the 2012 election, when what matters is fixing the economy, deficits and debt. Moreover, to add insult to injury, he fails to recognize the difference between supply side and Keynesian stimuli as he adopts the talking points of the left regarding the "cost" to the government of tax rate cuts and reality of falling government revenues during a jobs recession as he continues:
If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years — $630 billion of it above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts.
Of course, tea partiers are not about the business at tilting toward semantic nomenclature windmills and most understand that unless the economy rebounds sufficiently to produce jobs at a prodigious rate, there will be no chance of reducing the size of government enough to eliminate budget deficits and reduce the currency-destroying debt. Doesn't The Master understand that this deal was mainly about preventing a tax increase that could deepen the ongoing jobs depression (the underemployment rate of 17% approaches 1930s levels) and cause a GDP double dip? I must assume that he does but cares more about not risking Obama's re-election more, as if that were a realistic possibility in any event.
I have observed that America is most certainly better off with the far left Obama having defeated the moderate McCain so as to re-educate Americans in the failure of liberal economics in time to save us from the tipping point of Republican-moderate aided incremental-ism slouching towards Gomorrah. But would Charles also have us push suffering Americans off the cliff with ObamaDems? I would hope not, and doubt his fears are realistic in any event.
Moreover, Krauthammer exhibits the same economic ignorance of elitist Republicans in their worship at the Church of static Congressional Budget Office deficit estimates that Ronaldus Magnus and Arthur made a Laffer of in the 1980s through the just-completed Naughts. Tax rate cuts increase revenues at least above 30%.
But even on this issue, Charles makes a grave error that elected Republicans must address and I suspect will address when the new GOP-majority House convenes in January, namely, that the Obama-McConnell Deal is not a package of the kind of Reagan-Laffer supply side tax rate cuts that actually simulate job growth. The leading columnist in America fears that Obama will be able to win the argument over policy in his 2012 campaign for re-election no matter the performance of the economy since he can claim credit for the deal if unemployment falls significantly and can blame GOP theory if it does not.
Yes, I suppose he could if he is aided in such fraud by elitist conservative Beltway pundits and silent elected Republican leaders.
Let the gamecock crow and find echoes on the right that point out that this deal is damage control and preventative medicine. Let the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner make this clear with actual supply side stimulus bills in 2011.
And let it never be said of the Party of Lincoln that we would prolong the suffering of the under-employed merely to win an election. We can win the White House and the Senate in 2012 by acting in the best interests of the American people and stating the blunt truth.
If tea partiers stood for anything last Election Day it was that.
P.S. I favor the deal because I have been against tax increases and for tax cuts of almost any kind since the 1980s, given the sufficiency of revenues to pay for a government of a sane size all of my adult life. I favor increased unemployment benefits during deep recessions. I don't apologize for that but also don't deny that conservative opponents make good arguments against the deal. I don't agree with Hugh Hewitt and others that think we could get a better deal next year. Fred Barnes argued my position well yesterday on Hewitt's show. The transcript is here.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson