Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three Noteworthy Pieces in Today's Journal

Three interesting articles and op-ed pieces in today's WSJ.  The first article is by David Wessel and provides background for the fiscal cliff and budget talks. There is also a video that can be seen that is interestings. There is also an op-ed piece on global climate change and Hurricane Sandy. It points out that in many ways we have fewer hurricanes and less-destructive hurricanes than in years past. The third is an op-ed piece by Alan Blinder. He argues that the recovery has been slow but steady and that to have expected better is to have been mistaken.  I have a couple of quibbles with Blinder's piece though. First, he is pretty much a standard Keynesian and emphasizes government spending more than I think is appropriate. But another is more political. He mentions the Simpson-Bowles plan, noting that Pres. Obama did not embrace it but neither did Paul Ryan. The difference is that the commission was appointed by Pres. Obama and he failed to endorse or support the recommendations. The plan just fell flat. As president, he should have been providing leadership on the issue but failed to do so.  To equate Ryan's no-vote with Obama's lack of support and leadership is misguided.

1 comment:

  1. I am curious why you think that the president endorsing Simpson-Bowles would have made a difference.

    I think the general point about Ryan's no vote (along with a number of Republicans on that committee) (and its a general point because I did not read the article so you may be right about Blinder) is to show absolutely why it made no difference what the president did—there is not support for such a sweeping change in Washington (not to mention a different point that if the president had supported it, it was DOA in the House). Republicans pretend to care about deficits when it is used against Democratic spending and Democrats pretend to care about deficits when they want to score points for opposing wars or increasing taxes. As a 30 year old, on balance, I believe Democrats have been better on the deficit in my lifetime. That may be due to entirely to the Clinton budget and the reckless Bush years. But, I believe it goes past that albeit in a limited way where most people care very little about the deficit.