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Monday, February 9, 2009

The Great Gamble (or, the dangers of spending)

I thought Obama did a good job tonight, in particular in explaining how projects (e.g., green energy projects) serve dual purposes as job creators, along with providing longer term benefit later. This is of course the argument for the 1950s era infrastructure spending: repairing a bridge creates jobs today, and creates repaired bridges tomorrow.

An AP fact check on "pork" was a little deflating. But what the heck, Obama is a politician. And I thought he was pretty persuasive, and stopped the momentum of the Republicans, who I've argued previously have settled in to a minority role as the fact checkers themselves.

And, reality check, no Republican support in the House and little in the Senate is to be expected. They got voted out of office for being big spenders. Tells us something about the American electorate; like, if the stimulus bill is perceived to fail, say hello again to the GOP. Spending is politically dangerous. 800 billion dollars is potential political suicide. The deficit is massive thanks to the Republicans and soon to be more massive thanks to the Democrats. The Democrats had better hope they understand how to stimulate the modern economy, at least get it in the ball park, or Obama's a one term president. I hate to be Machiavellian, but it really is dangerous to write such a fat check against the American tax payers unless you've got good reason to expect success. I don't agree with the do-nothing strategy (I've said in prior posts, let's try to optimize job creation by sector), but in pure political terms this may in fact be the beginning of the new Republicans. Massive spending on top of a trillion dollar deficit is tricky business, especially when you're navigating the murky waters of the future global economy.

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