The parallel isn't perfect--after all, Paul Krugman isn't likely to resign or be fired for writing his columns at the New York Times. General Shinseki, also, was never as vociferous a critic of the Bush Administration as Krugman. Yet the cases of both men are astoundingly similar: both have been discounted and even ridiculed for speaking their minds and telling the truth about a hugely imminent national policy.
In 2003, when Gen. Shineski offered his estimate of the number of troops necessary for the invasion and its aftermath--400,000--the number was mocked the Bush administration as "wildly off the mark." In retrospect, following this recommendation would have saved American lives and money. Enough money to pay for, say, a stimulus.
In 2009, when Paul Krugman offered his estimate for the size of the stimulus most likely to stave off further economic peril--approaching $2 trillion dollars--he was subtly derided as a "liberal economist" (as if liberal could possibly remain a stigma after the repudiation of everything conservative), and his ideas were outright dismissed as extreme.
Like Shinseki, Krugman is right. $825 billion alone won't do the trick. As in Iraq, I fear that we are on the verge of sending too few troops into our upcoming economic battle.
I reluctantly support the current compromise, but we must recognize that it is simply not enough. If Obama hopes to maximize our chances for economic recovery, he must propose and enact a massive public works program that far transcends the bill that stands ready to pass.
We can't stall. Within the coming months, Obama and the Democrats need to pass an extensive stimulus--and this next time, I suggest that we go it alone, without the Republicans. We offered an olive branch and they didn't take it; now, we move on. We don't need them, and they lost.