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Author Topic: What Obama should have done in 2009  (Read 1843 times)
muon2
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« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2012, 10:26:10 pm »
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Anything Obama did would have been "controversial." The GOP made sure of that. Obama's mistake was wasting time trying to work with them. Any fool could see they weren't interested.

That wasn't true for the first 6 months. Most of the GOP officials were taken aback at the magnitude of Obama's victory and his win in states like IN and NC. There was substantial fear that total obstruction would be met with more electoral losses. It was only in the August 09 recess at local town hall meetings that the Tea Party showed it's strength pushing back against those members who sought to compromise with the WH. The August recess also marked the decline in productivity of the bipartisan six Senators working on a compromise on health care reform.

Given that timeline, I still think that Trende's insight that a split stimulus might have been played better is worth consideration.
Not a single House Republican voted for the recovery act. That was in February 2009. The GOP had no intention of playing ball.

I recognized that in my initial post in this thread. It would have been a challenge for GOP members to vote against the tax cut or infrastructure pieces. It also would have cemented the tax cut in the public mind so when Obama remarked on it later the issue would resonate. As it was he could say it, but get little credit since it was buried in the larger stimulus.


The bill was not going to garner much GOP support, and the tax cut and infrastructure pieces weren't going to have as much opposition as the health and education spending components. A split could have been very helpful in framing the debate with tax cuts and infrastructure right out of the box. Education support and job training as well as housing support could have happened after Franken was seated. The healthcare and Medicaid components could have been made part of the later healthcare bill. If the state Medicaid relief was also part of that healthcare bill it would have put many of the GOP opposition states in a box on the overall healthcare bill.
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« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2012, 10:50:37 pm »
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I recognized that in my initial post in this thread. It would have been a challenge for GOP members to vote against the tax cut or infrastructure pieces. It also would have cemented the tax cut in the public mind so when Obama remarked on it later the issue would resonate. As it was he could say it, but get little credit since it was buried in the larger stimulus.
I wonder if even a single Republican would have voted against the tax cuts? It'd be interesting to see the Democrats leveraging that into a campaign against, say, Jim DeMint.
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« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2012, 06:59:39 am »
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Anything Obama did would have been "controversial." The GOP made sure of that. Obama's mistake was wasting time trying to work with them. Any fool could see they weren't interested.

That wasn't true for the first 6 months. Most of the GOP officials were taken aback at the magnitude of Obama's victory and his win in states like IN and NC. There was substantial fear that total obstruction would be met with more electoral losses. It was only in the August 09 recess at local town hall meetings that the Tea Party showed it's strength pushing back against those members who sought to compromise with the WH. The August recess also marked the decline in productivity of the bipartisan six Senators working on a compromise on health care reform.

Given that timeline, I still think that Trende's insight that a split stimulus might have been played better is worth consideration.
Not a single House Republican voted for the recovery act. That was in February 2009. The GOP had no intention of playing ball.

The opposition party doesn't vote for your bill and that's all their fault?

I see no one wants to address the fact that Reagan's signature 1981 economic legislation got overwhelming bipartisan support. 

The fact is that the Democrats see themselves as "the natural ruling party", and yet 2009 was the first time in 16 years they had a new president and control of Congress.  Moreover, unlike the GOP which has a high rate of turnover, virtually the entire Dem Party leadership was -- incredibly -- unchanged from 1993 to 2009.  These were people who were nursing many years of grudges.  (Another result of the ossification of the Dem Party is that now we have a record age gap between Repubs and Dems in Congress, with Repubs averaging five years younger.)

With the extreme Left in full control of the Democratic Party in 2009 (and today), there was no inclination to "compromise" with a GOP that many thought was about to go extinct anyway.
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« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2012, 09:10:08 am »
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Anything Obama did would have been "controversial." The GOP made sure of that. Obama's mistake was wasting time trying to work with them. Any fool could see they weren't interested.

That wasn't true for the first 6 months. Most of the GOP officials were taken aback at the magnitude of Obama's victory and his win in states like IN and NC. There was substantial fear that total obstruction would be met with more electoral losses. It was only in the August 09 recess at local town hall meetings that the Tea Party showed it's strength pushing back against those members who sought to compromise with the WH. The August recess also marked the decline in productivity of the bipartisan six Senators working on a compromise on health care reform.

Given that timeline, I still think that Trende's insight that a split stimulus might have been played better is worth consideration.
Not a single House Republican voted for the recovery act. That was in February 2009. The GOP had no intention of playing ball.

The opposition party doesn't vote for your bill and that's all their fault?

I see no one wants to address the fact that Reagan's signature 1981 economic legislation got overwhelming bipartisan support. 

The fact is that the Democrats see themselves as "the natural ruling party", and yet 2009 was the first time in 16 years they had a new president and control of Congress.  Moreover, unlike the GOP which has a high rate of turnover, virtually the entire Dem Party leadership was -- incredibly -- unchanged from 1993 to 2009.  These were people who were nursing many years of grudges.  (Another result of the ossification of the Dem Party is that now we have a record age gap between Repubs and Dems in Congress, with Repubs averaging five years younger.)

With the extreme Left in full control of the Democratic Party in 2009 (and today), there was no inclination to "compromise" with a GOP that many thought was about to go extinct anyway.

Have you been listening to the things that the Republicans have been saying!? They are actively not compromising! It's not that they're willing and Obama's not, it's the exact opposite!
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« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2012, 09:24:46 am »
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One thing - the most important thing going away - that Obama has not even been talking about, much less "compromising" on, is entitlement reform. That is the major reason we are in irons. This is one issue where the POTUS must lead. He hasn't been.
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« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2012, 10:03:50 am »
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Anything Obama did would have been "controversial." The GOP made sure of that. Obama's mistake was wasting time trying to work with them. Any fool could see they weren't interested.

That wasn't true for the first 6 months. Most of the GOP officials were taken aback at the magnitude of Obama's victory and his win in states like IN and NC. There was substantial fear that total obstruction would be met with more electoral losses. It was only in the August 09 recess at local town hall meetings that the Tea Party showed it's strength pushing back against those members who sought to compromise with the WH. The August recess also marked the decline in productivity of the bipartisan six Senators working on a compromise on health care reform.

Given that timeline, I still think that Trende's insight that a split stimulus might have been played better is worth consideration.
Not a single House Republican voted for the recovery act. That was in February 2009. The GOP had no intention of playing ball.

The opposition party doesn't vote for your bill and that's all their fault?

I see no one wants to address the fact that Reagan's signature 1981 economic legislation got overwhelming bipartisan support. 

The fact is that the Democrats see themselves as "the natural ruling party", and yet 2009 was the first time in 16 years they had a new president and control of Congress.  Moreover, unlike the GOP which has a high rate of turnover, virtually the entire Dem Party leadership was -- incredibly -- unchanged from 1993 to 2009.  These were people who were nursing many years of grudges.  (Another result of the ossification of the Dem Party is that now we have a record age gap between Repubs and Dems in Congress, with Repubs averaging five years younger.)

With the extreme Left in full control of the Democratic Party in 2009 (and today), there was no inclination to "compromise" with a GOP that many thought was about to go extinct anyway.

Have you been listening to the things that the Republicans have been saying!? They are actively not compromising! It's not that they're willing and Obama's not, it's the exact opposite!

The Democrats' definition of "compromise" is "We get everything we want".

The Democrats' answer to any new ideas from Republicans is to refuse to hold votes on them in the Senate.

The Democrats have no answers.  They cannot write a budget.  They cannot write entitlement reforms.  They cannot do anything because they are completely hostage to their "groups".  All they can do is say "no no no!" to every new reform the Republicans propose.

Of course, if you trust the company town reporters of the nation's richest metropolis, you won't know any of this.
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« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2012, 10:39:51 am »
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 They cannot write entitlement reforms.  They cannot do anything because they are completely hostage to their "groups".  All they can do is say "no no no!" to every new reform the Republicans propose.
One thing - the most important thing going away - that Obama has not even been talking about, much less "compromising" on, is entitlement reform. That is the major reason we are in irons. This is one issue where the POTUS must lead. He hasn't been.

I feel compelled to point out the inclusion of IPAB within Obamacare. It's not a reform in itself, but it does lay the groundwork for making reforms to Medicare politically possible, namely by sidelining congress. It's cost reduction proposals are implemented automatically, and can only be overturned by congress if a)congress proposes an alternative that contains Medicare cost by a comparable amount, or b)the senate can summon up 67 votes to veto the proposal.

Consider the fact that projected growth in Medicare's cost dwarfs all other deficit contributors combined. The IPAB is the single greatest coup that entitlement reform could have possibly enjoyed... congress can let cuts/reforms to Medicare pas simply through inaction(or political maneuvering so they fall a few votes short of the needed 67 senators), without being held responsible for the cuts by AARP and senior voters.

The Republican response to IPAB is to label it a "death panel". I have a hard time taking them seriously as the party of entitlement reform, considering that.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 10:48:23 am by Kyro sayz »Logged
Torie
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« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2012, 10:50:07 am »
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I am not sure just how the death panels work, and you may have a point. Some elements of Obamacare will surely survive in some form in the end, and have to come back.

But the lower hanging fruit is simply cutting out unnecessary medical procedures, or those with a very marginal benefit. Medicare needs to be converted to an HMO system ASAP.

Then, as you suggest, we get to the heavy lifting that some medical procedures are just too expensive, and cannot be given to everyone, no matter how old, and no matter how much they will really impact the quality of life.

And then we get to the ticking time bomb, of how to deal with the demented, a number which will triple over the next 30 years. The problem is that folks are living too long, and after 80, the rate of dementia of various forms zooms up, particularly for men (by the late 80's, nearly half of the males are demented). And right now, we don't really have the medical technology to arrest that very effectively, as opposed to just stretching out the period of dementia, which only adds to rather than subtracts from the problem.

It would help if more had the Torie attitude, of when you see dementia just over the horizon, you just off yourself. In my case, assuming I have advance notice of my leaving this mortal coil, I plan my final exit to be in the form of a massive heroin overdose.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 10:53:18 am by Torie »Logged

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« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2012, 12:05:35 pm »
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Regardless of what could have been/should have been/would have been in Obama's first term, it's quite clear to anyone with any credibility whatsoever that electing a Republican President this year would be a death wish for this country.
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« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2012, 12:09:54 pm »
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Regardless of what could have been/should have been/would have been in Obama's first term, it's quite clear to anyone with any credibility whatsoever that electing a Republican President this year would be a death wish for this country.

By your lights, in what year was electing a Republican President not a death wish for this country?  1980?  1968?  2000?  1952?

[modify:]  I'll grant that electing a Republican President in 1860 was a death wish for the country.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 12:13:05 pm by WhyteRain »Logged
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« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2012, 05:24:28 pm »
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One thing - the most important thing going away - that Obama has not even been talking about, much less "compromising" on, is entitlement reform. That is the major reason we are in irons. This is one issue where the POTUS must lead. He hasn't been.

To be fair W tried to do something during his second term and squat happened.  The voters don't want entitlement reform.  They think they've fully paid for their benefits and aren't about to give them up.  I don't blame Obama for not wasting time on something that wasn't going to happen.
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« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2012, 05:35:30 pm »
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One thing - the most important thing going away - that Obama has not even been talking about, much less "compromising" on, is entitlement reform. That is the major reason we are in irons. This is one issue where the POTUS must lead. He hasn't been.

To be fair W tried to do something during his second term and squat happened.  The voters don't want entitlement reform.  They think they've fully paid for their benefits and aren't about to give them up.  I don't blame Obama for not wasting time on something that wasn't going to happen.

I am not taking a position on the Bush reforms of SS, but his main problem with it was that he did not campaign on it in his 2004 race.  If he had made SS reform a campaign issue -- and then won -- then he would have been successful in pushing his reforms in 2005-06.
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« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2012, 07:14:55 pm »
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One thing - the most important thing going away - that Obama has not even been talking about, much less "compromising" on, is entitlement reform. That is the major reason we are in irons. This is one issue where the POTUS must lead. He hasn't been.

To be fair W tried to do something during his second term and squat happened.  The voters don't want entitlement reform.  They think they've fully paid for their benefits and aren't about to give them up.  I don't blame Obama for not wasting time on something that wasn't going to happen.

I am not taking a position on the Bush reforms of SS, but his main problem with it was that he did not campaign on it in his 2004 race.  If he had made SS reform a campaign issue -- and then won -- then he would have been successful in pushing his reforms in 2005-06.

The problem with that is that if Bush had campaigned on Social Security reform in 2004, Kerry would have won.
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« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2012, 07:02:15 am »
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Not only did Bush '43 partly base his first "compassionate conservative" campaign on continuation of entitlement funding (remember his critique of Gore "trying to turn Medicare into Mediscare"?) but he spearheaded the Medicare Part D plan through Congress, despite objections from people like Coburn, so he could ensure a lock in Florida in his reelect. 

But, I do agree with Torie that Obama, having made a big deal of giving Simpson-Bowles its marching orders after GOP Senators bolted on it, should have embraced its findings and approach in the budget negotiations of last year.  It would have been THAT, and not any hypothetical redo of 2009, that would have allowed him to change the narrative of this election, whether Congress would have allowed the plan to pass or not.
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« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2012, 10:50:18 am »
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But, I do agree with Torie that Obama, having made a big deal of giving Simpson-Bowles its marching orders after GOP Senators bolted on it, should have embraced its findings and approach in the budget negotiations of last year.  It would have been THAT, and not any hypothetical redo of 2009, that would have allowed him to change the narrative of this election, whether Congress would have allowed the plan to pass or not.

How do you think the narrative would be different now?
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« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2012, 11:02:20 am »
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Meh, I disagree. I think deficit reduction as a whole has been a dumb idea for the past year, since we're still not out of the economic hole. Premature austerity has undermined US economic growth, and pretty much tanked a bunch of European economies.

What Obama should have done in 2011 was advocate government spending to stimulate demand, warning that cutting off stimulus would result in stagnant, start-stop growth. Could have had a big 'told you so' by now.

Its not that I'm unfazed by the deficit, but I think it should be a focus on economic growth in the short term and deficit reduction in the long term. It seems like Republicans want to focus on deficit reduction in the short term, which is hurting economic growth in the short and long term.
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« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2012, 11:53:49 am »
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Meh, I disagree. I think deficit reduction as a whole has been a dumb idea for the past year, since we're still not out of the economic hole. Premature austerity has undermined US economic growth, and pretty much tanked a bunch of European economies.

"Austerity" (a misnomer nowadays) is not what tanked European economies.

An inability to pay their debts is what tanked European economies.  Gee, I wonder how that could happen...

"Austerity" was talked about as a solution to the debt crisis, but new loans to pay for the old loans became the preferred path.  (There will eventually be real austerity, but it will be much worse than it would be now.  Or maybe these weak states will just sell their national assets and/or their foreign policies to powers that have not gone debt-insane.)

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What Obama should have done in 2011 was advocate government spending to stimulate demand, warning that cutting off stimulus would result in stagnant, start-stop growth. Could have had a big 'told you so' by now.

It's not that "smart" government spending cannot stimulate the economy.  Reagan did it with deficits that averaged less than 4.2% of GNP.  Bush 43 did it with deficits that never topped 3.5% GNP (and fell to 1.1% before Obama-Pelosi-Reid took power in 2007).  But stupid government spending -- of the "cowboy poetry" and Solyndra-type that we all associate now with Democrats -- can't stimulate even with record federal spending and deficits of 11% of GNP.

(Btw, there's the answer to "Why weren't you Tea Partyers upset at Bush's deficits?"  We were, but it must be acknowledged that while Bush spent like a drunken sailor, Obama spends like a drunken admiral.)

Quote
Its not that I'm unfazed by the deficit, but I think it should be a focus on economic growth in the short term and deficit reduction in the long term. It seems like Republicans want to focus on deficit reduction in the short term, which is hurting economic growth in the short and long term.

Let's get rid of the "stupid" government spending.  Only then can we talk about how much of the rest we need.  As long as the Obamacrats keep claiming that every dime of cowboy poetry and Solyndra spending is "critical investments", they won't have any credibility with us.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 11:59:17 am by WhyteRain »Logged
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« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2012, 02:27:17 pm »
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How do you think the narrative would be different now?


It has taken a while to sink in with me, because I'm dumb, but I have come around to thinking that, if there was at least one substantive takeaway message from the 2010 election results, it was that people were beginning to worry not just about the economic recovery, which requires growth and not just government spending, but also about how much debt was piling up,  And the thing about Simpson-Bowles that it seems to me is often overlooked is that the changes in spending and program structure are phased in over decades going forward--they don't gut everything right away.  I think, if Obama had gotten behind Simpson-Bowles or something largely like it, he would have been able to say that he had his eye on both short-term recovery and long-term debt reduction.  That's a pretty big bite out of the opponents' message, it seems to me.
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« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2012, 06:14:07 pm »
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How do you think the narrative would be different now?


It has taken a while to sink in with me, because I'm dumb, but I have come around to thinking that, if there was at least one substantive takeaway message from the 2010 election results, it was that people were beginning to worry not just about the economic recovery, which requires growth and not just government spending, but also about how much debt was piling up, 

I'm not at all sure about that interpretation of the midterms.  Polling after the midterms, when the beltway pundits were freaking out about the debt, showed the public actually didn't care about it that much.  People who did care about it were definitely more motivated to turn out and vote in 2010, while, as usual, the party who just won the White House, young voters and minorities, were less likely to turn out.  But there's also no way of knowing the effect of debt because there's no controlled experiment for the bad economy, which was always going to be brutal for the incumbent party.  Actually, I think it's very likely Democratic spending cuts to Medicare actually boosted the Republicans into power (where they immediately voted to end Medicare as we know it.)  Republicans probably think so too which is why they spent all that money running ads about it.

Quote
And the thing about Simpson-Bowles that it seems to me is often overlooked is that the changes in spending and program structure are phased in over decades going forward--they don't gut everything right away.  I think, if Obama had gotten behind Simpson-Bowles or something largely like it, he would have been able to say that he had his eye on both short-term recovery and long-term debt reduction.  That's a pretty big bite out of the opponents' message, it seems to me.

GOP would have blocked Simpson-Bowles then attacked Obama for the growing debt.  Just as they are attacking him for the debt while simultaneously fighting desperately to extend the Bush tax cuts and reverse Pentagon spending cuts.  And attacking him on job growth while blocking his jobs bill.  Would the public have cared what Obama tried to do?  Not clear.  Obama pushed for a jobs bill that non-partisan economists say would have had a million more people working right now and for a $4 trillion debt reducer deal that was mostly (delayed) spending cuts and the GOP killed both.  He's in a tie race with the GOP.  I do think he should have explained most of the debt growth in his presidency came from the crash that preceded his election, which he still can I guess.
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« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2012, 06:33:52 pm »
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Could be Bull Moose.  Polls even among self-identified TEA-party supporters show both broad-ranging support for debt reduction and broad-ranging opposition to entitlement cuts.  I just suspect that, if you support a concrete plan put together by your own appointed commission and the other side blocks it, you can lay clear blame on them for it.  If you don't back the recommendations of your own appointed commission, it's a lot easier for the other side to accuse you of being asleep at the switch.  And yes, I know all the details about the Medicare cuts and the budget negotiations.  But I'm just talking about the way stuff plays with the public.
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