Bad Advice From Paul Krugman
When the economist Paul Samuelson urged him to propose an income-tax decrease in 1961, Kennedy said there was no point, it would not pass the Congress. “But then you’ve fought the good fight,” Samuelson said. Kennedy’s answer to that was : “That’s vanity, Paul, not politics.”Paul Krugman is my favorite political columnist. But he is an economist, not a politician, and it shows in this advice he has for the president. Paul Samuelson said “But then you’ve fought the good fight.” Paul Krugman is saying "No deal is better than a bad deal."
Let’s Not Make a Deal
Both the Bush-era tax cuts and the Obama administration’s payroll tax cut are set to expire, even as automatic spending cuts in defense and elsewhere kick in thanks to the deal struck after the 2011 confrontation over the debt ceiling. And the looming combination of tax increases and spending cuts looks easily large enough to push America back into recession...... nothing very bad will happen to the economy if agreement isn’t reached until a few weeks or even a few months into 2013 ..... standing up to hostage-taking is the right thing to do for the health of America’s political system..... No deal is better than a bad deal.As for going over the cliff, is it like driving off the roof?
"He drove off the roof!"
Greece Drinks the Hemlock
lawmakers narrowly approved a $23 billion package of new austerity measures, including further spending cuts to social services, pensions and public salaries, as well as tax increases demanded by Greece’s European lenders. ...... In return, the troika of official creditors — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — promise to consider, but not guarantee, reducing the punitive interest rates they charge Greece for bailout loans and unlocking a $40 billion aid payment Athens needs to avoid a default on its debts. ...... just about everything in this austerity package has been tried before and failed disastrously. These unpalatable steps will do nothing to make Greece’s debts more payable, bring its budgets closer to balance or help make the structural reforms Greece needs to revive its economy. Instead they will almost certainly further shrink an economy that has already shrunk by an astounding 25 percent over the past few years, making fiscal improvement nearly impossible. ...... The austerity approach was supposed to reduce Greece’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product. But that ratio has grown, despite debt write-offs and bailouts, because the economy has contracted so much. The new package is expected to shrink it an additional 9 percent. ...... The only way forward is through more debt write-offs and more low-interest European loans, as well as by opening up restricted job markets. ...... measures that extend and deepen Greece’s severe recession are certain to intensify public opposition to labor market reforms that could increase an unemployment rate already over 25 percent. And imposing new fuel taxes and health care charges will hurt ordinary people and make a tax system that is scandalously unfair even more soHappy Days, Even With the Cliff
The fiscal cliff doesn’t happen until the end of the year when the Bush tax cuts expire and monster budget cuts automatically kick in. ..... Trump has no conceivable impact on anything. ....... Boehner... “Mister President, this is your moment. We’re ready to be led” ....... sounded as if the only cliff-avoidance Boehner was really interested in was one that raised new revenue through “fewer loopholes, and lower rates for all.” ...... We have already seen that plan. It was proposed by a man who, on Tuesday, lost the state in which he was born, the state in which he was governor, and the three states in which he owns houses. Thanks to a blog by Eric Ostermeier in Smart Politics, I am able to point out that the only candidate for president who lost his home state by a larger margin than Mitt Romney was John Frémont in 1856. And Frémont was coming out of a campaign in which the opposition accused him of being a cannibal. ........ he’s an older white guy, and, therefore, part of the biggest loser demographic of the election, the flip-side of the insurgent Latino vote. ........ John Weaver worried about becoming “a shrinking regional party of middle-aged and older white men.” On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly moaned that “the white establishment is now the minority.” ..... O’Reilly, 63, added that the new majority was composed of people who “want stuff.” As opposed to older white men, all of whom have signed a pledge never to accept veteran benefits, Social Security or Medicare. ....... Cheer up, white men! You seem to be doing O.K. Next year women will have 20 percent of the seats in the U.S. Senate, and we’re celebrating. ..... If all else fails, strap John Boehner to the roof of a car.
How a Race in the Balance Went to Obama
Seven minutes into the first presidential debate, the mood turned from tense to grim inside the room at the University of Denver where Obama staff members were following the encounter. Top aides monitoring focus groups — voters who registered their minute-by-minute reactions with the turn of a dial — watched as enthusiasm for Mitt Romney spiked. “We are getting bombed on Twitter,” announced Stephanie Cutter, a deputy campaign manager, while tracking the early postings by political analysts and journalists whom the Obama campaign viewed as critical in setting debate perceptions...... No one wanted to go to the spin room and speak with reporters. ...... “Boy, the president is off tonight,” said Stuart Stevens, the senior Romney strategist, sounding mystified, according to aides in the room. ...... he would now accept and deploy the prewritten attack lines that he had sniffed at earlier. “If I give up a couple of points of likability and come across as snarky, so be it” .... His antipathy toward Mr. Romney — which advisers described as deeper than what Mr. Obama had felt for John McCain in 2008 — led the incumbent to underestimate his opponent as he began moving to the center before the debate audience of millions of television viewers. ...... The power of this operation stunned Mr. Romney’s aides on election night, as they saw voters they never even knew existed turn out in places like Osceola County, Fla. ..... On Tuesday night, a crestfallen Mr. Romney and his family watched as the television networks showed him losing all but one battleground state. ....... Romney, who had earlier told reporters he had written only a victory speech ...... It was 11:30 p.m., and Romney field teams in Ohio, Virginia and Florida called in, saying the race was too close for the candidate to give up. At least four planes were ready to go, and aides had bags packed for recount battles in narrowly divided states. Bob White, a close Romney friend and adviser, was prepared to tell the waiting crowd that Mr. Romney would not yet concede.... But then, Mr. Romney quietly decided it was over. “It’s not going to happen,” he said......... As Ann Romney cried softly, he headed down to deliver his speech ..... Obama had returned, if not to the candidate that he was in 2008, as a man hungry for four more years to pursue his agenda in the White House ...... Mr. Stevens argued that Mr. Obama’s dislike of Mr. Romney would lead the president to underestimate him. “They think there’s something intellectually inferior there,” he said later. Mr. Romney’s advisers also believed that Mr. Obama had demonized Mr. Romney to such an extent that their candidate would benefit when judged against the caricature....... In August, Mr. Romney began testing out one-liners on friends flying with him on his campaign plane. On issue after issue, Mr. Romney led discussions on how to frame his answers, to move away from the conservative tone of his primary contests in front of the largest audience he would have as a candidate.......... (Mr. Romney’s advisers broke out in laughter when the real Mr. Obama opened with a similar line, and nodded approvingly when a very prepared Mr. Romney countered with a gracious response that even Democrats said put Mr. Obama off balance.) ........ Nothing had been left to chance: Mr. Romney put on full makeup and did his final practice in a room set up to replicate, down to the lighting and temperature, the hall where he would meet Mr. Obama. ....... George W. Bush phoned Mr. Romney, too. ...... incumbent presidents almost invariably lose their first debate. ..... presidents are not used to being challenged, and unlike candidates, are out of practice at verbal jousting. ...... Obama showed no interest in watching the Republican debates. But his aides studied them closely, and concluded that Mr. Romney was a powerful debater, hard to intimidate and fast to throw out assertions that would later prove wrong or exaggerated. At one debate, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas criticized Mr. Romney for having praised Arne Duncan, the education secretary, days earlier. Mr. Romney flatly denied it, leaving Mr. Perry speechless. ....... “I’ll be there on game day,” he said. “I’m a game day player.” ..... came across .. as professorial, arrogant, entitled and detached from the turmoil tearing the nation. ....... appeared to be disdainful not only of his opponent but also of the political process itself. Mr. Obama showed no passion for the job ........ The voter-analysis database back in Chicago noted a precipitous drop in perceptions of Mr. Obama among independent voters, starting that night and lasting for four days, long before the public polls picked it up. Voters who had begun turning to Mr. Obama were newly willing to give Mr. Romney another look. ........ After the debate, Mr. Obama called Mr. Axelrod on his way back to the hotel room. He had read the early reviews on his iPad.... “I guess the consensus is that we didn’t have a very good night,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Axelrod.... “That is the consensus,” Mr. Axelrod said........... Romney soon recognized the scope of his accomplishment. He flew from Denver to Virginia for a rally the next day, and as the motorcade headed toward the event, there was so much traffic that Mr. Romney and his top advisers thought there must have been an accident. In fact, the roads were jammed with people on their way to see him. ........ Obama used his rallies to collect supporters’ telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. ..... the hurricane pushed him off the stage at a crucial time. ..... Colin Powell, a former secretary of state, endorsed Mr. Obama. The ad, Mr. Obama’s aides said, produced a spike of support from independent voters. (Mr. Obama’s aides grabbed the clip from a television interview with Mr. Powell, deciding not to chance asking him for permission). ...... The futility of that effort was apparent outside the sprawling Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, which had just had a $500 million renovation for production of a new line of vehicles, a project requiring 1,100 new workers...... “Everyone here knows someone who works at Jeep”