Matthew Yglesias Damns Slate and Praises Tim Noah
Is There a Useful "Neoclassical Macroeconomics"?

Who Are the Obama Dead-Enders Talking to?

One such is Jonathan Alter:

You Think Obama’s Been a Bad President? Prove It: "From the left: “He should have pushed for a much bigger stimulus in 2009.” That’s the view of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, now gospel among liberals. It’s true economically but bears no relationship to the political truth of that period. Consider that in December 2008, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a hardcore liberal Democrat, proposed a $165 billion stimulus and said he would be ecstatic if it went to $300 billion. President- elect Obama wanted to go over $1 trillion but was told by House Democrats that it absolutely wouldn’t pass. In exchange for the votes of three Republicans in the Senate he needed for passage, Obama reduced the stimulus to $787 billion, which was still almost five times Rendell’s number and the largest amount that was politically possible…

It's very hard to figure out who Jonathan Alter is talking to. He certainly isn't talking to me. Or to Paul Krugman. Or to pretty much everybody technocratic who has now been calling for three years for Obama to do more--via the Treasury, via the Federal Reserve, via FANNIE and FREDDIE--to boost spending. Or to pretty much everybody who was in 2009 and 2010 calling for Obama to use the Reconciliation process and so get the Senate vote hurdle down from 60 to 50.

The point that congressional supermajorities to pass more stimulus via normal order were not there is not a rebuttal to the technocratic critique of Obama. Rather, it is part of the technocratic critique of Obama.

Comments