Liveblogging World War II: November 12, 1941
Mark Madden (April 3, 2011): Sandusky a State Secret

"How Long Do You Expect A Grand Budget Bargain to Last?" Blogging

Periodically, I would into one of my "Obama needs to make a grand bargain with Republicans in order to balance the long-term funding requirements of the social insurance state" moods.

Then people like Duncan Black, Dean Baker, and Robert Waldmann would ask me: "Didn't Clinton do that in the late 1990s? Didn't Clinton get bipartisan agreement on a track for spending and taxes that would reduce the national debt to 0 by 2015? How long did that last?"

Their point was that until this Republican Party vanishes from the page of time, you cannot make deals with them. Whatever you fix, they will break--as they did in 2001-2003.

So I never had a good answer to Duncan, Dean, Robert, and hordes of others. And so I would periodically ask people in the Obama administration: "How long do you expect any grand bargain you succeed in making with the Republicans to last, before they start busting the budget again?"

And I never got a good answer back...

Zachary Goldfarb (June 7, 2011):

Zachary Goldfarb on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: By early [2010], Geithner was beginning to gain the upper hand in a rancorous debate over whether to propose a second economic stimulus program to Congress…. Although Geithner was not as outspoken, he agreed with Orszag on the need to begin reining in the debt, according to current and former administration officials…. Once, as Romer pressed for more stimulus spending, Geithner snapped. Stimulus, he told Romer, was “sugar,” and its effect was fleeting. The administration, he urged, needed to focus on long-term economic growth, and the first step was reining in the debt. Wrong, Romer snapped back. Stimulus is an “antibiotic” for a sick economy, she told Geithner. “It’s not giving a child a lollipop.”…

By the middle of [2010], Geithner’s fortunes had shifted…. Geithner’s influence with the president was growing…. By April [2011], Geithner had gotten Obama to sign on to $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but not quite as fast as the Treasury secretary hoped…. Geithner has assured lawmakers that the administration recognizes the dangers posed by mounting debt, including possible erosion of investor confidence in the United States, and is taking deficit reduction seriously…