In Obama's presser last week, Obama responded to a question posed to him noting that Paul Krugman and others thought Obama's economic-stimulus plan was looking a little small to meet the unfathomable challenge he faces in trying to kick-start this Depression Conservative Style.
If Paul Krugman has a good idea, in terms of how to spend money efficiently and effectively to jump-start the economy, then we’re going to do it. If somebody has an idea for a tax cut that is better than a tax cut we’ve proposed, we will embrace it. So, you know, one of the things that I think I’m trying to communicate in this process is for everybody to get past the habit that sometimes occurs in Washington of whose idea is it, what ideological corner does it come from. Just show me. If you can show me that something is going to work, I will welcome it.
I wrote this:
I know Obama's team is reading Krugman's blog and columns so I think he's putting his ideas out there for all to see, but heck, give him an adviser role too and let him go to work for you. That is, if he'd accept.As I've written many time before, when it comes right down to it, Republicans do not want Obama to succeed in DC so forget the bipartisan stuff and implement the plan Obama really wants without worrying about the vote count.
Paul responded to Obama by writing a new column with some suggestions called: Ideas for Obama
Mr. Obama answered that he wants to hear ideas about "how to spend money efficiently and effectively to jump-start the economy."
O.K., I'll bite — although as I'll explain shortly, the "jump-start" metaphor is part of the problem.
First, Mr. Obama should scrap his proposal for $150 billion in business tax cuts, which would do little to help the economy. Ideally he'd scrap the proposed $150 billion payroll tax cut as well, though I'm aware that it was a campaign promise.
Money not squandered on ineffective tax cuts could be used to provide further relief to Americans in distress — enhanced unemployment benefits, expanded Medicaid and more. And why not get an early start on the insurance subsidies — probably running at $100 billion or more per year — that will be essential if we're going to achieve universal health care?
Still, shouldn't Mr. Obama wait for proof that a bigger, longer-term plan is needed? No. Right now the investment portion of the Obama plan is limited by a shortage of "shovel ready" projects, projects ready to go on short notice. A lot more investment can be under way by late 2010 or 2011 if Mr. Obama gives the go-ahead now — but if he waits too long before deciding, that window of opportunity will be gone.
One more thing: even with the Obama plan, the Romer-Bernstein report predicts an average unemployment rate of 7.3 percent over the next three years. That's a scary number, big enough to pose a real risk that the U.S. economy will get stuck in a Japan-type deflationary trap.
So my advice to the Obama team is to scrap the business tax cuts, and, more important, to deal with the threat of doing too little by doing more. And the way to do more is to stop talking about jump-starts and look more broadly at the possibilities for government investment.
Please read his full article, but you can see that he's no fan of Republican tax cuts. If Obama is throwing them in because he wants congressional Republicans to sign on, then he should reconsider. They will either sign on or pay a heavy price from Americans for blocking his stimulus package (except from the Malkinites). So lead on, lead strong and lead free from the conservatives who have thrown our economy in the ditch. They were voted out of office for a reason.