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|Tuesday, July 12, 2011|
I found the president's remarks during his press conference this week on deficit reduction talks with the Republican disappointing on several fronts. First, I am disappointed that the president seems committed to doing whatever it takes to reach a deal. There are lines that ought to be drawn in the sand, but even when they are drawn the lines are erased and moved as needed. It looks like a deal will be reached, the only question at this point seems to be how much the president will give away to get it. The president was, of course, trying to make it look like he is the one willing to compromise so that if a deal is not reached, the consequences will be blamed on Republicans. But it also appears he is willing to move quite a bit to get a deal done.
Second, I am disappointed that Obama has adopted austerity as a valid means of stimulating the economy, something he made absolutely clear during his remarks. There is no evidence that this works in a situation like ours, i.e. that deficit cuts create so much confidence that they stimulate the economy. However, there is plenty of evidence that the fall in demand from the deficit cuts is harmful, and that such cuts are likely to impede the recovery. The president has embraced the idea that uncertainty about the future, particularly worries about the deficit, is holding back the economic recovery even though this cannot be justified from the historical record. It's hope over experience.
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