Home > Economy, Politics > Change We Can Believe in, XXI

Change We Can Believe in, XXI

Change We Can Believe In: Fiddle While the Economy Stalls

I awoke this past Sunday to several blog posts about Binyamin Appelbaum and Helen Cooper’s NYT article on internal White House debates about how to approach the economy. I’m a little late with my own. Let me quote from the article:

Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.


A series of departures has left few economists among Mr. Obama’s senior advisers. Several of his political advisers are skeptical about the merits of stimulus spending, and they are certain about the politics: voters do not like it.

Mr. Plouffe and Mr. Daley share the view that a focus on deficit reduction is an economic and political imperative, according to people who have spoken with them. Voters believe that paying down the debt will help the economy, and the White House agrees, although it wants to avoid cutting too much spending while the economy remains weak.

As Calculated Risk points out, “It sounds like the debate is between doing nothing and doing very little.” Krugman’s summary: “Plouffe and Daley, macroeconomic theorists!”

For this installment of “Change We Can Believe In,” I have replaced the image that has graced the top of the previous twenty installments with Ted Rall’s latest cartoon. Need more be said?

Categories: Economy, Politics
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