Home > Uncategorized > From Labor Day, Let’s Debate The Economy And Skip The Frivolous

From Labor Day, Let’s Debate The Economy And Skip The Frivolous

I can’t wait for Labor Day, Sept. 6, and the days immediate after for it marks campaign promises that both Republican and Democratic leaderships will promote their plans for economic recovery.

Let’s hold them to the fire. We need, we must, have a good, no-holds barred debate on this subject for it is killing us. Like it or not, it may influence the midterm elections Nov. 2 and perhaps carry over to 2012.

The Democrats will send their A-team to the hinterlands in President Obama and former President Clinton.

Doyle McManus, a veteran and generally neutral observer of politics, observes in his weekly column in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times:

“We need a more consistent focus on the economic message,” a leading Democratic strategist fretted to me last week. “It’s an issue we can win on, but the focus on it in the White House has only been episodic so far.”

I like this challenge. Obama Kenysian economics vs. tax cuts combined with pre-Bush administration Republican spending restraints.

House Minority Leader John Boehner has laid down the gauntlet in his speech in Cleveland last week. I’ll let McManus speak:

Boehner said a new, Republican-led Congress would focus its initial efforts on two areas: First, it would stop the stimulus program, cancel billions of dollars in spending that hasn’t been committed and push for “aggressive” further cuts in federal spending.

Second, it would reject any income tax increase on “families and small businesses,” no matter how high their income — specifically including the increase on households earning more than $250,000 a year that Obama has proposed.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell announced a similar game plan but was coy in not releasing what he had in mind.

I view positively one aspect of the Obama administration’s economic program which was for 18 months at least staving off a deep depression which was where we were headed when Barack Obama was sworn into office.

I view negatively that much of the $787 billion was spent unwisely and made only an artificial and temporary dent in unemployment.

I don’t know if Boehner is whistling loony tune melodies when he, according to McManus, says:

Boehner argued that Obama’s economic stimulus policies have not only failed to produce economic recovery but that they are actively preventing a recovery from taking hold.

But Boehner is probably correct in this assessment:

“Right now, America’s employers are afraid to invest in an economy stalled by ‘stimulus’ spending and hamstrung by uncertainty,” he said. “The prospect of higher taxes, stricter rules and more regulations has employers sitting on their hands.”

What none of the politicians address is the elephant in the room — The Federal Reserve which controls monetary policy.

Nor do we need Vice President Joe Biden mouthing off about jobs saved, whatever that means. McManus says it more circumspectly:

Vice President Joe Biden, standing in for the vacationing president, argued that the stimulus has saved or created 3 million jobs, and warned that extending the Bush tax cut for families over $250,000 would deepen the deficit by almost $700 billion over 10 years. And Biden quickly pivoted to the White House’s favorite talking point — the argument that Boehner and his Republicans merely want to reinstate Bush’s economic policies.

Let’s have the debate and keep our eye on the ball. And rid the nation’s airwaves of Muslim mosques, oil blowouts, Glenn Beck finding religion, former Republican operatives outing themselves from their gay closets, sexual scandals by the rich and famous or whatever the frivolous soup de jour of the moment happens to be.

Of all the economic questions that beg for answers, there is one I’m curious about. Joe Biden, his Democratic colleagues and the Congressional Budget Office claim extension of the Bush tax cuts on the highest incomes would increase the deficit by $700 billion over 10 years. We’re talking an increased rate of 4%, up from the current max of 35%.

My question: What would happen if that $700 billion was not spent and used to offset the budget deficit? If the Republicans answered that, they might pick up my vote for the first time since Ronald Reagan won in 1980.

Silly me. In Washington, a penny received is a penny spent.

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