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Monday, October 13, 2008

Impeccable timing department: Krugman's Nobel Prize

Could there be a better time for an economist (now) sympathetic to Obama to win the Nobel Prize? I don't think so! Let's hope that Krugman takes full advantage of this brief opportunity to get beyond the editorial pages of the New York Times and Rachel Maddow's show with his economic message.

Fire McCain's campaign! If you want a good laugh today, you can't do better than read William Kristol's column in the Times. He says McCain's "only chance" is to get rid of his campaign staff, stop the attack ads, stop emailing reporters, and for him and Sarah Palin to just get out on the campaign stump like the "happy warriors" they really are. "Set them free," Kristol pleads. Oh, have their campaign staff taken them hostage? In that case, by all means, let them loose--but in somebody else's country, please.

Day is night and night is day department: The Washington Post editorializes in clear fashion about Palin's mischaracterization of the abuse of power report as a vindication.

McCain hates the train. I've been meaning to point out, as many here probably know, that McCain is one of the staunchest opponents of Amtrak subsidies in Congress, and has done plenty to keep the system from growing. Now, just how does that square with his call for energy independence?

2 comments:

Anne Gilbert said...

Paul Krugman won a Nobel Prize? Yay! Kewl!
Anne G

Jeff Meredith said...

I should note that Krugman has been no fan of Obama. He certainly views him more favorably than McCain, but Krugman has questioned Obama's healthcare plan (he favored the Clinton plan) and his tax policies. Back in March, Krugman wrote:

"Mr. Obama also continues to make permanent tax cuts -- middle-class tax cuts, to be sure -- a centerpiece of his economic plan. It's not clear how he would pay both for these tax cuts and for initiatives like health care reform, so his tax-cut promises raise questions about how determined he really is to pursue a strongly progressive agenda."

In light of the bailout, it's unbelievable that both candidates still promise tax cuts (um, don't we need tax revenues to pay for this?). Obama has already acknowledged that the bailout will delay some of his plans:
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Democrat Barack Obama acknowledged this morning that the massive Wall Street bailout will likely postpone his sweeping proposals on healthcare, education, alternative energy, and other priorities.
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Here's a better idea: freeze departmental spending at 2008 levels (adjusting for inflation), scrap the middle class tax cuts (political pandering from Obama), keep the tax hikes on the rich. Run some surpluses, pay down the debt.

Result: The interest payments will fall and then you'll have money for some of these initiatives when Obama is running for re-election in 2012 (or more likely in 2016 when he's leaving office).

Obama is right that the government could recoup some of the $700 billion, but it's unclear how much.