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Monday, February 9, 2009

monday monday

This Krugman column really needs to be read in its entirety.


Michael Tomasky paints a brighter picture:

The stimulus bill, imperfect as it is, does indeed represent an enormous political victory for Obama. For reasons tactical as well as substantive, liberals ought to declare victory and dance on the vast empty tundra that is the Republican present.

Think back. Two months ago, people were talking nervously about a stimulus package worth about $400bn. Now? Assuming the Senate and House of Representatives more or less split the difference between their two versions of the bill - they will likely iron those out this week and vote on the final passage of the new product by the week's end - we're talking twice that, with at least $500bn in new spending (the rest is tax cuts). That is, by some distance, the largest public spending bill ever conceived in the US.

Now, to be fair, the big concern of liberals who are unhappy with this bill - they wanted it to be larger, and less focused on tax cuts - is the central question of whether it will work. They say, this is our best shot in 30 years at showing that government can be part of the solution, and it damn well better show that. They're doubtful that this bill can.

Time may prove them right, but two points: a) then again, it might not, because who can really say, and b) in any case, this bill is not the Obama administration's only chance to do something about the economy. Treasury secretary Tim Geithner is rolling out a plan today to get credit flowing and protect homeowners. Soon, the administration will present a proper budget, in which it can signal priorities about things like transport and the greening of the economy, which are multi-year projects in the best of circumstances.

Liberals should press the administration for the most progressive outcome possible. That's fine and laudable. But at the same time, let's understand that they got about 80% of what they wanted here, and getting 80% of what you want is awfully rare, in politics or marriage or at the office or anywhere.


Should we temporarily nationalize the banks? Some smart people think so. But that's one of those words that gets you into trouble, so perhaps not.




As much as Republicans may insist otherwise, the fact remains that the New Deal worked. (duh)



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