Stimulate US

Paul Krugman has been making the case (quite effectively, in my opinion) for some time that we need more economic stimulus. In Salon, Robert Reich has a nice column discussing the political imperative of this on the Blue Dogs, who are always whining about budget deficits in totally nonsensical ways (of course, all else being equal you'd prefer a deficit to a surplus, but right now, all else is definitely not equal).  It is their own re-elections most imperiled by a lack of a stimulus.  Only question is if they are smart enough to realize that (I suspect not).  Anyway, Reich nicely lays out the case:

 

Let's be clear about this. The national rate of unemployment will
almost surely hit 10 percent; we'll know Friday whether it already has.
This is more a psychological and political threshold than an economic
one (it doesn't include everyone who's too discouraged to look for
work, or working part time who'd rather be working full time, or
working fewer hours in an ostensible full-time job, or otherwise fully
employed but being paid less; the Bureau of Labor Statistics' payroll
survey, also due Friday, provides a more accurate picture). But it
nonetheless represents a degree of hardship this country hasn't seen in
decades.

Public approval of Obama’s handling of the
economy has slipped to 46 percent in an Oct. 30-Nov. 1 CNN poll, from
59 percent in March. Remember, Obama was elected in part because the
public didn't have confidence in McCain's ability to manage the
economy. In exit polls last November, almost two-thirds of voters
listed the economy as the nation's top issue. If the job numbers don't
start moving in the right direction, not only will Obama's poll ratings
continue to drop but congressional Dems will all be in trouble.

That
should be Obama's selling point to the Blue Dogs. He should tell them
the economy needs a bigger stimulus in order to show improved job
numbers by the mid-term elections. And he should make sure they
understand that they're more politically endangered next November if
the the job numbers aren't moving in the right direction by then than
if they vote for a larger stimulus now.

That's the case.  Let's see if Obama makes it and the Blue Dogs listen.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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