Face The Nation: Paul Krugman Says There's Hope For Our Economy--If We Get Real About "Bipartisanship"
I just loves me some Paul Krugman. In a just world, a man of his credentials (hello?!?! Nobel Prize in Economics?) would have far more weight than the bozos on the business channels still touting Friedman economics as the iceberg crashes into the bow and the water rises to their necks. But sadly, the media still gives equal weight to the failed policies that got us in this predicament as if the recession occurred in some vacuum, devoid of any consequences of the Republicans hard-on for "free" market de-regulation.
Guest host Chip Reid asks Krugman if the recession is actually a blessing in disguise, because it opens the door for a 21st Century New Deal. Krugman agrees, but only if we let go of the myth of "bipartisan agreement":
He’s [..] not going to get bipartisan consensus. He may be able to get some moderate Republicans votes. He may be able to get the moderate Republicans in the Senate – both of them -- to go…vote with the Democrats. The point is, you look at what John Boehner is doing in the House right now, the House Republican Leader. He’s dead set against doing anything constructive right now. He’s actually soliciting on his website, saying if there are any credentialed economists who are willing to you know, say negative things about stimulus plans, please contact me. So no, it’s not going to be bipartisan, in the sense that leaders of both parties are going to get together. Reaching out across the aisle, trying to find some sensible people on the Republican side is not the same thing.
I find it hilarious that after all of the petty partisanship of the last eight years that somehow it's incumbent upon the Democrats to be the grown-ups in Washington and reach across the aisle. Where was all the talk in the media circles of bipartisanship for the last eight years? Is it that the media knows that Republicans aren't mature enough to do so? And where, in all their history, have the Republicans shown themselves to be able to do anything for the good of the country instead of their party, as Krugman so aptly describes?
Krugman is dead on right. There will be no bipartisan consensus. The Republicans' agenda will be to obstruct and hobble as much of the Obama plans as possible to regain the majority in 2010 with the argument that the Democrats couldn't do anything. Boehner has all but admitted it. So let's let go of the notion of "bipartisanship" and get the majorities necessary to get things done.
Transcripts below the fold
REID: How do you see this recession and the response to it changing this country? I know you’ve been arguing for a more progressive government for a long time and obviously, difficult times like this, I don’t want to suggest that a recession is a good thing, but if looking back at this, five years or some number of years from now, can you envision a country that is better off because of how it responded to this recession?
KRUGMAN: Well, if you believe, as I do, that we need a stronger social safety net, that we need Universal Health Care, than the revelation of just how vulnerable we are when things go wrong, is going to help. If you believe that we’ve gone way too far in this belief that the market is always right, that regulation is always wrong, than this is one heckuva lesson in what happens when you don’t adequately regulate the financial markets. So I think we may be seeing a swing of the political pendulum as a result of this crisis that will hopefully leave us a better nation in the long run. We came out of the New Deal, we came out of the 1930s as a better country, a middle class country where we had been in the Gilded Age. We came out as a country that took better care of its citizens. That doesn’t mean that you hope for a depression, right? So we hope that this thing is relatively short, shorter than I expect it to be, and it’s not as bad as I expect it to be. But yeah, we’re learning something, and hopefully, we’ll make some use of those lessons.
REID: Barack Obama has talked a lot about the need to reach across the aisle…on everything. On all of his policies, foreign policy and this. And clearly in the Senate, you can’t get anything done with…anything with less than 60 votes. You need Republicans…
REID: …And in fact, I’ve been told, on Capitol Hill, they want a lot more than 60 votes. They want this to be genuinely bipartisan, which brings me to your book, which I was actually reading last night, and on page 272—I’m not playing ‘gotcha’, but I just wanted to see—you talk about the fact that the Republican Party is controlled by ‘movement Conservatives.’ You then say, quote ‘…the notion, beloved of political pundits, that we can make progress through bipartisan consensus is simply foolish.’ Are you suggesting that the kind of bipartisan consensus Barack Obama is looking for is foolish?
KRUGMAN: He’s…you know…that …he’s not going to get bipartisan consensus. He may be able to get some moderate Republicans votes. He may be able to get the moderate Republicans in the Senate – both of them -- to go…vote with the Democrats. The point is, you look at what John Boehner is doing in the House right now, the House Republican Leader. He’s dead set against doing anything constructive right now. He’s actually soliciting on his website, saying if there are any credentialed economists who are willing to you know, say negative things about stimulus plans, please contact me. So no, it’s not going to be bipartisan, in the sense that leaders of both parties are going to get together. Reaching out across the aisle, trying to find some sensible people on the Republican side is not the same thing.
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