Tuesday, August 02, 2011

He Was Not The Fool

The Economic Policy Institute, condemning the economic impact of the debt agreement signed by the President on Monday, has found "Applying conventional multipliers, the reduction of $30.5 billion in calendar year 2012 would reduce GDP by 0.3%, and result in roughly 323,000 fewer jobs."

The likelihood that a deal significantly reducing spending will abort the already anemic recovery probably has been a major theme of Paul Krugman, never a customer of Barack Obama Kool-Aid, the past 6-8 weeks. On Sunday, he noted that cutting spending is unlikely to reduce further interest rates on federal spending, which already are extremely low. Discouraged by the President's apparent fondness for capitulation, Krugman added

In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.

We leave for another time consideration of whether Barack Obama is in fact The Worst Negotiator Ever or intentionally has taken a cleaver to the New Deal, as Glenn Greenwald believes. Brad Friedman (bradblog.com), who approvingly links to Krugman's article, notes that the Obama Style was evident from the actions of Senator Obama, who (as his post at the time described) in early 2007 told the Associated Press

that he believes Senate Democrats will vote to fund the Iraq War without withdrawal timelines if Bush vetoes the currently pending spending bills as he's promised to do.

Presuming he's been accurately quoted by AP (not necessarily always a safe bet), this means Obama was willing to show his hand and, essentially, give permission to Bush to go ahead and veto the bill without consequences. Brilliantly done.

If we ever need to negotiate for anything, remind us to not call on Obama to represent us.

Friedman observes "What was clear to us as long ago as 2007 was that Obama was the worst. negotiator. ever and now "has done almost precisely as he projected he would 4 years ago when we pointed it out, so that we could 'get a sense of how the next president will make decisions,' as Senator Obama then explained.

And appropriately, given all that has since transpired: Mr. Obama's statement to the AP was given on April 1, 2007- April Fool's Day.

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