I was all but ready to have a lovely peaceful Friday afternoon, and then Daniel pointed out today's column by David Douchebag Brooks. In it he lays out his vision of an alternate reality in which the Democrats would not have been heading towards a terrible election.
1. Apparently, things would have been much better if back in early 2009 Obama understood that Americans will "recoil at the prospect of federal debt without end" and instead of more spending, proposed a stimulus that relied heavily on cutting payroll taxes which would "send a quick jolt to the economy without concentrating power in Washington." OMG, where do I begin?
a. Deficit = Spending - Taxes. More spending increases the deficit; cutting taxes increases the deficit. Suggesting that a stimulus program that relies on lowering taxes instead of higher spending would somehow have been less bad for the size of the US deficit is either total idiocy or a display of the typical Republican hypocrisy when it comes to deficits: they are only bad if they come from higher spending. For more details on this strange logic, see Bush tax cuts circa 2001-2003.
b. Later in the column, Brooks fantasizes: "Obama put [puts?] signs around the White House: “No Quick Fixes.” Administration officials were forbidden from promising a short-term summer of recovery." EXCEPT, I guess, when the columnist suggests that tax cuts would "send a quick jolt to the economy." So which is it, David? Do we stop promising quick fixes? Or are you suggesting that there are no quick fixes WITH THE SOLE EXCEPTION of cutting taxes? How fucking convenient for a conservative to believe that!
c. For a program that Brooks implies was all about spending, the stimulus actually had a surprising amount of tax cuts. In fact, over 1/3 of its total size came from tax cuts. Best of it all, almost 1/2 of these tax cuts came from payroll taxes.. in other words, exactly what Brooks is suggesting the president could have done to avoid a historic defeat in December.
2. "At about that time, General Motors and Chrysler started teetering. Obama decided to help the companies if they were willing to make the tough choices that would boost long-term competitiveness. It occurred to him that this was the template for the whole country." I guess Brooks is somehow implying that the administration somehow failed in this respect.. though it seems to me that what actually happened was precisely what he describes AND, if anything, it worked well .. For more details, see the $1.3 billion in profit GM reported in the last quarter!
3. "April brought the cruelest fight: whether to spend the rest of the year getting health care reform or a new energy policy. Obama decided to do energy first. The economy was uppermost on everybody’s mind. Americans were wondering where new innovations would come from, what new jobs would emerge.By doing energy first, Democrats were able to spend the entire summer talking about technological advances, private sector growth and breakthrough productivity gains. Obama toured one small business after another, and got his energy bill." Do I even have to refute that?
In summary: Obama would have been hailed as savior and the Democrats loved, had they only cut taxes, bailed out the car manufacturers, told people to expect a slow gradual recovery, and passed energy reform first. Gosh, I am no huge fan of many things Obama has done but this analysis is total horse shit.