Today (Monday, April 25) CNN has an opinion piece from former George W. Bush staffer David Frum that shocked me, and not in a Capt Renault kind of way.
Technically speaking, the U.S. economy is recovering right now. GDP growth has been positive since the summer of 2009. Employment is growing. If you like, you can say the recession is over.
But don’t say it too loud. With 13.5 million people out of work — 6.1 million out of work for 27 weeks or more — the odds are high that one of them may hear and take offense.
The recovery is weak, and job creation is slow. Everybody knows that. But here’s something that we don’t know, or anyway don’t think about enough: Isn’t it weird that in this dismal economic situation, neither of the two great U.S. political parties is offering a plan to do anything about the job situation?
Frum goes on to note that the Republicans at least have a “plan” (Rep Paul Ryan’s “budget”), even though the “plan” does nothing to help the unemployed, nor does it actually do anything on the budget. He also notes that the Democratic “plan” consists primarily of blasting the Ryan plan.
The administration does however have a political plan: Blast the Ryan plan. Since the Ryan plan is highly politically vulnerable, the blasting will likely hurt the GOP and help President Obama. The blasting will not, however, do much for the unemployed. But then we’ve all sort of given up on them, haven’t we?
I have to give credit when it is due and right now, Frum seems to be one of the few members in presumably good standing of the Village who is actually seeing something close to the reality faced by millions of us within the US today. Annie Lowrey of the Washington Post almost got it correct yesterday before reverting to Beltway cheerleading. The rest of the Very Serious People though are ever so serious as they toil away in the alternative world where the budget deficit is the ultimate problem in the world today. From Robert Samuelson at the Washington Post we get this. Of course in Samuelson’s world, everything is the fault of social spending. How else to explain these two little ‘nuggets’?
Who deserves government subsidies and how much? About 55 percent of spending goes to individuals, including the elderly, veterans, farmers, students, the disabled and the poor.
How much, if at all, should social spending be allowed to squeeze national defense?
Social spending is squeezing national defense? Seriously? I guess if you believe that we need a few more aircraft carrier groups, more nuclear submarines, more advanced fighter jets costing billions each, all relics of the Cold War, then I guess taking care of “the elderly, veterans, farmers, students, the disabled, and the poor,” that’s a squeeze. Enjoy life in that bubble Mr Samuelson.
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