[Cross-posted at The Left Coaster.]
History is technically defined as a chronological sequence of significant events, depending on the objective it can explain an outcome or helpfully provide pertinent facts or observations to a worthy question. Political junkies in the Democratic Party are already trying to define the economic history and outcomes of the Obama administration, doing so is an absolutely critical intellectual and political bedrock on which to base the rationale of the 2016 campaign, and of course how we choose our candidate.
President Obama inherited a roaring catastrophe of an economy, a reeling wreck of unlawful financial institutions, falling wages and soaring unemployment, except for the willfully blind and stupid Republican tribe all in the country acknowledge that Bush and his cronies drove the place into a terrible ditch. The Democratic response was the 2009 stimulus, and here the history becomes murky, did the Obama 2009 stimulus relieve the employment and wages catastrophe to the extent that the 2016 Party and candidate can proudly run on it, or should it be abandoned and replaced with a much more populist little-people politics for the 2016 campaign?
Well, like all difficult complex issues my answer is yes and no, both to the stimulus efficacy issue and how that answer should be used in our 2016 politics. I am sure, however, that critical pieces of the 2009 stimulus history are missing, it is well worth our time and effort to get the full history correctly, therein lie critical clues and pointers on what we have to avoid in the future to keep our political futures viable.
Did the 2009 stimulus succeed? No. It was too small, many economists and policy advocates ran rough approximate algorithms and easily saw there wasn’t enough cash present to avert the employment catastrophe.
Still, amazingly, pipsqueaks from Maine assumed awesome Senatorial powers and ruthlessly, clumsily chiseled away hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus cash without a fight at all, it’s critical to understand a different President without an agenda of compromise and conciliation never would have allowed that to happen, each billion dollars lost meant tens of thousands of families thrown into the abyss.
Disastrously the Obama administration lied to itself by using tax cut costs as a magical addition to the gross stimulus number. A tax cut dollar is not a stimulus dollar in any sense, but in some economic fantasy land they insisted it was. Some cash of course was injected into the economy, but much of it was not and of course tax cuts embrace the lunacy of lousy Republican politics while totally exacerbating our wealth inequality disaster.
The result was a gross number that was a fake, and we cluelessly confused our own future politics with Republican tax cut stupidity.
As 2009 melded into 2010 it was completely clear our employment catastrophe was still wrenchingly with us, of course the 2009 stimulus significantly alleviated the disaster but the recovery charts were still a horror show. Here comes the huge critical history milestone of failure that must be learned for our future politics.
Why was nothing done for stimulus in 2010 when the catastrophe was still with us? As Dr. Atrios notes, he and anyone with employment antennae begged the Obama administration to do more, and as Athennae further noted everyone in the country saw the heavy Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, everything was in place to move. We did nothing.
Obama folks were instantly defensive and trotted out this widely disseminated list of accomplishments, always starting with “The Lilly Ledbetter Act…”
LLA was passed on the first day of the administration, how could anything that took 24 hours be an accomplishment? Furthermore, although completely worthy in objective and never any disrespect to Ms. Ledbetter, in practical labor market terms LLA did nothing to alleviate our wage rate disaster. Anyone with any liberal political sense was begging for more employment stimulus, and all we got was this instant zombie response for a mere judicial technical move that in actuality did freaking nothing, omfg. A roaring political disaster mounted every month in 2010 and this excruciating response was The Lilly Ledbetter Act, The Lilly Ledbetter Act….
That’s my personal history to the flaming disaster, of course, don’t use that, look at the amazing double-digit disapproval Party numbers before the 2010 election—which we will never see in our lifetimes again—and naturally the total ass-kicking the Democratic Party took in the 2010 midterms. The 2009 stimulus was a failure and did not work.
Because it was too small, not nearly liberal enough in social implementation, dishonest in its tax cut policy, and incredibly not repeated.
It did a great deal of good and stopped a total economic meltdown, but the little people desperately need a 2016 candidate who promises employment stimulus every year, just like the Fed does for the finance markets. Ignoring the little people and our ongoing employment catastrophe is not a winning political rationale for 2016 victory, our candidate must embrace big employment stimulus every year until the catastrophe is finally behind us.