Political Economy: Soak the Rich Department
The History of Economic Policy from 1993 to 2001

Oh Dear: Invisible Bond Market Vigilantes Making Policy Department

Duncan Black says:

Eschaton: Word Salad: Word Salad I guess I can be comforted by the fact that the uncustomarily high level of gibberish suggests that maybe he doesn't actually believe this [dreck].

Here we have Barack Obama at Facebook, held hostage by the invisible bond market vigilantes:

So those were all investments that we made in the first two years. Now, the economy is now growing. It’s not growing quite as fast as we would like, because after a financial crisis, typically there’s a bigger drag on the economy for a longer period of time. But it is growing. And over the last year and a half we’ve seen almost 2 million jobs created in the private sector.

Because this recession came at a time when we were already deeply in debt and it made the debt worse, if we don’t have a serious plan to tackle the debt and the deficit, that could actually end up being a bigger drag on the economy than anything else. If the markets start feeling that we’re not serious about the problem, and if you start seeing investors feel uncertain about the future, then they could pull back right at the time when the economy is taking off.

So you’re right that it’s tricky. Folks around here are used to the hills in San Francisco, and you’ve driven -- I don’t know if they still have clutch cars around here. Anybody every driven a clutch car? (Laughter.) I mean, you got to sort of tap and -- well, that’s sort of what we faced in terms of the economy, right? We got to hit the accelerator, but we’ve got to also make sure that we don’t gun it; we can’t let the car slip backwards. And so what we’re trying to do then is put together a debt and deficit plan that doesn’t slash spending so drastically that we can’t still make investments in education, that we can’t still make investments in infrastructure -- all of which would help the economy grow.

In December, we passed a targeted tax cut for business investment, as well as the payroll tax that has a stimulus effect that helps to grow the economy. We can do those things and still grow the economy while having a plan in place to reduce the deficit, first by 2015, and then over the long term. So I think we can do both, but it does require the balanced approach that I was talking about.

If all we’re doing is spending cuts and we’re not discriminating about it, if we’re using a machete instead of a scalpel and we’re cutting out things that create jobs, then the deficit could actually get worse because we could slip back into another recession.