A few thoughts on today’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos
1) Interview with Eric Cantor: Cantor repeats, as many Republicans have, that stimulating the economy via government spending is not what the American people want, that Americans think we are spending too much…yet polls continue to show that Americans put their support behind Obama’s ideas over the Republicans’ ideas 61% to 26% (see clip for cited polling data). Cantor seems to be hoping that if he says it enough, it will become true. (Also, his statement that the best that government spending can do is redistribute wealth and that “it can’t create jobs” is simply not true, and perhaps is in line with that axiom as well.)
2)In the roundtable George Will asks (at approx. -15:10), What is it about the recent past that makes us think that the government can manage the economy? Those on the “left” side of the table (The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Stan Greenberg) do a good job of critiquing the poor managing of the economy by the Bush government. But his question really is a problematic one that seems to come up in many places and that contains a serious flaw in logic: just because the government has not handled the economy well in the past (and that is open to debate) doesn’t mean that Government cannot and should not have a meaningful role in shaping economic matters. Does it not depend on who the government is and on what principles they stand? This is not to say whether or not Obama will be different from past presidents, but simply to say that past failure is the failure of past government policies, not a failure of Government, per se. This logically fallacious argument is the same one brought up in terms of health care. What makes us think that just because many national health plans haven’t worked in other countries as we’d like them to for our purposes, that there is no national health care plan that can work for us? The assumption behind such flawed reasoning is that the failure of details means the structure is the problem, which is both a logical fallacy and simply ridiculous.
3) I agree with vanden Heuvel (approx. -12:55) when she calls it “laughable” to hear Republicans essentially bitching about spending in light of Bush’s war expenditures. It’s amazing that war expenditures are no problem for Republicans, but social programs, science and technology initiatives, and energy research is not “fiscally responsible.” Or perhaps I’m not so amazed.
4) I’ve realized that the Republicans seem to suffer from the same short-term outlooks that corporate CEOs do. Corporate CEOs are typically rewarded for short-term profits/quarterly growth; Republicans are getting pissy at the impending deficit, yet as vanden Heuvel said (my transcript),
[…] now is the time for investing in the future of this country. The GDP to debt ratio may be higher, but if it is for investment, for productive investments, not tax cuts for the rich or wars that have made us more insecure.
This is akin to going into to debt to get a higher education in order to procure better employment–it’s investing in one’s future, and is necessary debt. And we are starting to see the long-term effects of “starving the beast” (as vanden Heuvel’s phrase) to enable tax cuts.
5) The point was raised that the fight is to define the package. This is where the political B.S. comes in–the inflammatory language of “socialism” comes into play–something I’ll be writing on later this week. Good on Will for suggesting that the socialism accusation is misguided.
(I also found it funny that when the core issues of the 2008 election came up, Rove kept referring to ads. Is that where he thinks the election took place–in the TV ads? Wouldn’t surprise me, since that’s where he fought Bush’s 2004 campaign from. And he clearly implied that Americans voted based on the admittedly limited information they were given in ads.)
(Cross-posted to The Reaction)