I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Obama as a Clinton-Centrist - Bad Idea?

The Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein pointed out President Obama's attempt to paint himself as a Clinton-centrist. Recently, the President hired many former President Clinton staffers and aides. But Klein astutely noted that the economic situation of 1995 is vastly different from 2011.
The late ‘90s were a boom time like few others -- and not just in America. The unemployment rate was less than 6 percent in 1995, and fell to under 5 percent in 1996.
Nevertheless, after agreeing to Speaker John Boehner's budget proposal, in his address to the people of the United States, the President declared (clip below), "This is an agreement to invest in our country's future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history." Obama continually stressed the need to put politics aside and come together for the benefit of the country.

This, Klein argued, is a mistake. By celebrating spending cuts, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Klein stated Reid joined in on the "celebration") opened themselves to additional cuts in the future. How can they celebrate cuts now but publicly denounce them later? Additionally, Clinton economists know that now, during the middle of a recession, is not the time to be cutting spending.
Deficits should be low to nonexistent when the economy is strong, and larger when it is weak. The Obama administration’s economists know that full well.
While it's a long way out, if the economy does not recover by November of next year, will this kill the Democrats' chances in the 2012 election?

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