Obama’s Malaise

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 20-11-2009


In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Republican reps Jeb Hensarling and Pau Ryan layout why economic expectations are so low.

Why all the pessimism? The source appears to be a growing fear that the federal government is retreating from the free-market economic principles of the last half-century, and in particular the strong growth policies that began under Ronald Reagan. A review of the economic policies instituted by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress lends credibility to this concern.

Exhibit A is the economic stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama in February. Even among previous stimulus efforts, the 2009 stimulus stands out for its ineffective targeting and sheer size. With interest, it is $1.1 trillion, double the size of Roosevelt’s New Deal spending as a percentage of GDP.

Exhibit B is tax policy going forward. It is a near certainty that Democratic-controlled Congress will allow most of the tax cuts of 2001-2003 to expire on Dec. 31, 2010.

Exhibit C is the administration’s intervention in the GM and Chrysler reorganizations. Upsetting decades of accepted bankruptcy law, the administration leveraged TARP funds to place unsecured and lower priority creditors like the United Auto Workers union in front of secured and higher priority creditors.

Health care, the administration’s signature issue, is Exhibit D. Disregarding its impact on quality and access, its plan will surely cost well over $1 trillion over the next decade. The House-passed version includes an 8% “pay or play” payroll tax and a half-trillion dollar surtax on incomes over $500,000, much of which will strike small business. Both taxes will tend to depress investment and the creation of new jobs.

If one substitutes the Blue Chip Economic Forecast’s interest-rate forecast for that of the administration, deficits will increase by an additional $1.2 trillion over the administration’s projected deficits. If the next decade’s interest rates climb to match those of the 1980s, then the deficit would increase another $5.3 trillion. If higher interest rates then slow economic growth, the impact on the deficit would be much worse.

via Jeb Hensarling and Paul Ryan: Why No One Expects a Strong Recovery – WSJ.com.

While I agree with all these, I think the reps believes that government is the solution, and the problem is their solution is not being implemented. This is what happens when you believe the government is the solution to our problems. Whoever lies the best and gets control of the government sets the policies. I’d love to see these guys calling for the government to quit tinkering with the economy.

The free market works, and will handle slow downs much better than politics. This recession would have hit us fast and moved on already without the tinkering. Can you imagine a doctor giving you a shot and saying I don’t want to inflict the pain, so let me put the needle in slowly? When you get a shot, you want it fast and quick. You know it’s going to hurt. Just get it over with. The economy is the same way. If we are going to go through some economic pain, take the brunt of it and get it over with. Instead we have these idiots trying to avoid any pain, and all they do is prolong it. The Fed caused the damn pain, and then says their role is minimize the pain and prevent it going forward. Really? Good job jackasses. Maybe we should try to control the weather so we don’t have any natural disasters.

If you want expectations to pick up, go back to the constitution. Quit tinkering. Tinkering only causes people to speculate on what the tinkering will be, and because our current tinkerers are bigger socialists than the previous tinkerers, they don’t feel good about the tinkering. Remove the tinkering ,and you remove the speculation and the negative expectations.

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