02 November 2010

Policy (not political) Reasons The Republicans Will Win So Big Today

One of the reasons that Obama's democrats will lose so many seats in today's election is unavoidable. Obama's recovery from the Great Recession is in the road building phase of recovery. By that I mean when traffic is bad and the crews come in to widen lanes, the initial approach simply worsens things. The construction crews make traffic even worse before their work makes things better. Obama is trying to stimulate the economy and while that has done little to (visibly) reduce unemployment, it has quite visibly raised the deficit. Given his approach, it seemed unavoidable that he'd lose seats in this election.

But I don't think that he had to lose so many seats. Part of the problem, I think, is that when he bailed out the banks, no one paid for that. Some banks did engage in unsafe practices. The system did need to be protected from collapse. (The equilibrium point for a cash only economy is considerably lower than current levels of GDP.) Obama (as Bush before him) had no choice but to rescue banks to keep the financial system working. He did have a choice about how to do it.

I'm not sure the best policy on this. I would propose that the net worth of executives in rescued banks be taxed at 80%. Or that bonuses that can be positive in good years can be negative in bad. Or any of a number of things that would have made the little guy who was not rescued feel as though the rich guys who were had not been subsidized by their taxes. Obama never quite seemed to appreciate the visceral reaction people had to the bank rescue. Bush got this and - while it was a complete non sequitur - he gave the people a war after 9-11. Obama did not even try to sate Americans' desire for some kind of retribution and now, the Tea Party has made him the one who pays.

No comments: