How Much Does Obama Know?

Does he know, for instance, that our current economic disaster has little or nothing to do with the deficit and everything to do with a collapse of demand? Is he using the deficit in public to avoid talking about jobs in the run-up to the 2012 election?

Robert Reich says yes:

I’m told White House political operatives are against a bold jobs plan. They believe the only jobs plan that could get through Congress would be so watered down as to have almost no impact by Election Day. They also worry the public wouldn’t understand how more government spending in the near term can be consistent with long-term deficit reduction. And they fear Republicans would use any such initiative to further bash Obama as a big spender.

So rather than fight for a bold jobs plan, the White House has apparently decided it’s politically wiser to continue fighting about the deficit. The idea is to keep the public focused on the deficit drama – to convince them their current economic woes have something to do with it, decry Washington’s paralysis over fixing it, and then claim victory over whatever outcome emerges from the process recently negotiated to fix it. They hope all this will distract the public’s attention from the President’s failure to do anything about continuing high unemployment and economic anemia.

If Reich is right, this all-politics-all-the-time president is using the economic woes of millions of people to serve his short-term political interests. I don’t have to tell you what I think about that.

Paul Krugman takes note of Reich’s report and of other economists’ observations of similar questionable behavior on the part of European leaders, and concludes the following:

I’m still trying to make sense of this global intellectual failure. But the results are not in question: we are making a total mess of a solvable problem, with consequences that will haunt us for decades to come.

Astonishing? no. Predictable? maybe. Acceptable? you tell me!

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