What, me worry?

I know I’m supposed to be angry and offended and all that, but I kinda agree with Paul Krugman:

A thought I’ve had: there have been some complaints from movement progressives about the centrism/orthodoxy of Obama’s economics appointments. To some extent this was unavoidable, I think: someone like the Treasury secretary has to be an experienced hand who can deal with Wall Street, and I haven’t heard anyone proposing particular individuals with clearer progressive credentials to hold that position.

And couple thoughts of my own.  First, for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the Obama administration looking like a retread of the Clinton administration, with the very notable exception of the growth in economic disparity, the Clinton administration did a pretty good job managing the economy, transforming record deficits into record surpluses, and presiding over one of the strongest economic expansions in recent history.

But it’s also important to note that these are smart people, and it would be a mistake to expect Obama’s economic appointees to attempt to duplicate the policies of 1992.  A lot has changed over the past 16 years, a lot of mistakes were made (in both administrations), and a lot of lessons have been learned.

While the Clintonistas, under the direction of Robert Rubin, focused on balancing the budget, Obama’s appointees, many of whom are Rubin protegees, have made it clear that economic stimulus will be the top priority, even at the cost of massive deficit spending.  Indeed, even Rubin has publicly stated his support of job creation now, and balanced budgets later.

So no, I’m not all too concerned with the centrist bent of Obama’s Rubinesque economic team.  Smart, accomplished, well intentioned people… that’s always a good start.


  1. 1

    michael spews:

    I’m pretty happy with the appointments that I’ve seen so far. Obama has gone for pragmatic folks that are smart and can hit the ground running.

  2. 2

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    The following is the 1863 Lincoln Presidential Proclamation – celebrated shortly after Lincoln committed his life to Christ and celebrated while America was still in the midst of its Civil War. It was this proclamation which eventually led to the establishment of our national Thanksgiving holiday.
    by Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America

    The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

    In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

    Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

    No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

    It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

    In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

    A. Lincoln

    I pray each of you takes time to meditate over Lincoln’s words…which were inspired by God.

  3. 3

    JohnB spews:

    Indeed, even Rubin has publicly stated his support of job creation now, and balanced budgets later.


    Later? But the non-partisan Tax Policy Center has pointed out time and again in its analysis of Obama’s budget proposals that the budget deficit will increase significantly in the years ahead. See, for example:


    Of course, there are concerns in some circles that Obama is tilting too far right with some of his national security choices. See, for example:

    “Doves keep the faith as Obama team tilts right”


  4. 4

    YLB spews:

    I find the contrast so refreshing.

    Movement “conservatives” i.e. mostly Limbaugh-loving dittoheads cheerleaded Dumbya all the way. Anyone who raised an eyebrow was a “RINO”.

    Now it’s movement progressives who are raising eyebrows all over the place. I’m in the “let’s give him a chance camp” on domestic policy. Is 2.5 million jobs enough over the next 4 years? If not what’s the alternative and what’s the plan to get there?

    Already progressives have had an impact on pushing back on Brennan at CIA. I think we’re doing just fine.

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 Does this mean you Republicans have decided to rejoin the UNITED States of America? Whatsamatter, didn’t the politics of hate and division work out very well for you guys? Well, welcome back … sort of. We may forgive, but we’re not gonna forget.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    2.5 million jobs in 4 years is chickenfeed. The economy needs to create 186,000 jobs a month just to stay even with population growth.

  7. 8

    JohnB spews:

    2.5 million jobs in 4 years is chickenfeed. The economy needs to create 186,000 jobs a month just to stay even with population growth.


    It is not 2.5 million jobs in 4 years – see 5.

  8. 9

    YLB spews:

    5 – Ok so that figure was over two years.

    Then.. Plugging in RR’s figure…

    Well that’s about 1.9 million short. Either RR is off on what the economy needs or Obama is counting on a rising tide to provide the rest or…

    This country is in really bad shape. What say you all?

  9. 10

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    YLB…about 140-150k needed to keep up with population growth + more to create jobs for the recently unemployed by the inept Bush Admin., then RR’s numbers seem OK.

  10. 11


    These men, for all of their achievements, are not immune from groupthink.

    They carried out the groupthink economic philosophy of the 1990’s with great capacity and good results. And they will do so again this time with the good news for progressive being that groupthink is now heavily tilted in our favor.

  11. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 The good news is that Obama couldn’t do worse than Bush in job creation even if he tried. The only guy who’s worse than Bush is Hoover. But that’s not at all surprising. Republicans hate workers. Cheap labor conservatives like high unemployment because it depresses wages.

  12. 15

    FricknFrack spews:

    Seems to me that Obama and his transition team are making thoughtful selections of experienced people. Not merely choosing cronies and graduates of inept Bible colleges. So I’m pleased at the progress he has made.

    One thing I would like to see done, though, is go through ALL the Civil Service selections that have been made during the past few months. Examine each position for true qualifications and ability. Clear out all those ‘embedded Repubs’ before they outlast their probation periods. Before they can still reek havoc quietly from within and sabotage future progress.

  13. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @16 If you do go that far back, you’ll find that every single Democratic president outperformed every single Republican president in job creation (stated as a percentage of the total workforce). Here are the numbers in order of best to worst:

    Democrat Roosevelt 5.3%
    Democrat Johnson 3.8%
    Democrat Carter 3.1%
    Democrat Truman 2.5%
    Democrat Clinton 2.4%
    Democrat Kennedy 2.3%
    Republican Nixon 2.2%
    Republican Reagan 2.1%
    Republican Coolidge 1.1%
    Republican Ford 1.1%
    Republican Eisenhower 0.9%
    Republican Bush Sr. 0.6%
    Republican Bush Jr. (0.7%)
    Republican Hoover (9.0%)

    Republicans are bad for jobs, period — no ifs, ands, or buts.

  14. 18


    The 90’s economy was based on the coming to fruition of Reaganomics, an explosion in information and technology, and a Republican Congress which held the purse strings. Clinton only put the subprime mortgages on overdrive eventually leading to today’s problems.

  15. 19

    LMASS spews:

    The reason Governments in the USA are bloated.
    Jobs to keep Government big isn’t growth it’s political job security at the expense of the taxpayer.
    2.5 million jobs (short term) is a band aid.

  16. 20

    YLB spews:

    18 – That’s right wing bullshit.

    Clinton rose taxes on the rich and the Reaganauts said that would destroy the economy.

    The economy did just fine and the budget was in surplus by the end of Clinton’s term.

    The explosion of sub-prime mortgages were made possible by Alan Greenspan’s bubble economics and the repeal of the Glass-Steagal act – Phil Gramm’s baby.

    Stinkin’ rotten right wing brains if you ask me.

  17. 21

    Real American spews:

    stinkinrottenkid is making quite the impression here on HA. He/She has demonstrated almost the same wingnut talking point kool aid drunkenness as Mark the Redneck and Puddy!

    Congrats stinkinrottenkid, you are an equal to the stupidest amongst us!

  18. 22

    headless lucy spews:

    re 18: Why do Republicans fail to take resposibility for their mistakes? If I drive a car into the ditch, I don’t blame the previous driver — nor will the authorities take such a claim seriously. And, if yiur thesis is true — that it was ‘Reaganomics’ succeeding under the Clinton administration, shouldn’nt the success have continued under a Republican administration?

    These are tired, old taliking points you are attempting to revive. What your party really did was take 30 years to bring us back to the Great Depression.