No One Does It Like Palin

Demogogue of the People

Between her quintessential demagoguery and misstatements (or lies), Sarah Palin actually clarifies a lot of ambiguity in our political system. In the speech she gave in Iowa today, with young, impressionable people present, Palin blamed Obama for the credit downgrade, stagnant economy, and “crony capitalism.” She even criticized the current set of political actors for speaking in generalities, when in fact this was supposed to be her detailed jobs speech which contained nothing but generalities and petty attacks (“reign in burdensome regulations.” and “repeal Obamacare”) The reason I write this post is not to attack Palin (too easy), but to say that her incessant talk about debt instead of jobs exposes the largest problem in American politics today: The most pressing need right now is employment. Debt is  a long-term problem of serious proportions, but is not the most pressing issue. And yet, the Republican messaging has skewed the narrative so heavily that Obama has gone idly along with the program. This will prove to be his detriment since the lack of creative ideas on job creation and concentration cutting entitlements  will weaken the economy and leave him with a stagnant economic record to run on. He may still win (I put the figure 70% chance of reelection against Romney), but his legacy will pay the price.

An interesting idea I have been talking to people about lately is what if the employment figures (9.1% unemployment) are actually at full employment levels. This could be possible if the 9.1% is actually structural unemployment, not just cyclical or other types of unemployment. The global economy has shifted considerably while American public policy has not, which has led me to recently think that maybe we are closer to full employment than the 4-6% number generally posited by economists. I still think Keynesian economics are valid in recessions, and public safety needs and economic growth converge with infrastructure development. Yet, we will not accomplish these things in our current political atmosphere. Tea Partiers are here to stay, as the great majority of them are from conservative districts where they hold ideological advantages in Republican primaries. We need liberal Republicans, and furthermore brave, innovative leadership on both sides to fix the current idea and partisan gridlock. Senator Ron Wyden has historically found ways to work with conservatives on good policy, why can’t other congressman do so? Orrin Hatch used to, before his job became more important than policy. I hope Mark Kirk, Olympia Snow, Dick Lugar, Susan Collins, Dan Coats, Scott Brown, Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Mike Johanns can form a moderate caucus in the Senate, or at least create a new voting bloc to counteract the far-right hold Republican policy and narratives. I doubt this will happen, but anything short of a leftward turn of the right-wing in the American representation will result in gridlock and/or bad policy, e.g. the debt deal.


Posted on September 4, 2011, in Economics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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