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Not that the political footrace is the most important aspect of this story, but it's hard not to be happy about evading cuts in food inspection programs and Pell grants (previous post aside).  I think the thing that his base often forgets is that the default position at this point is a standstill, much as we saw with the health care reform debate.  That, as we saw, is the most perilous possibility for reelection.  The president, we are finding, must swim forward, or he suffocates.  We have seen him take a lot more proactive position in terms of moving policy forward, with the realization that it's going to come at the cost of the "purity" of policy decisions.  My opinion of what all this is about is that the executive branch is attempting to drive solid economic growth leading up to the election, since the rate of economic growthin the year before election often determines who wins.  At the same time, a lot of what he is giving up is Republican candy--sweet and attractive, something they'll surely go for, but insubstantial in the long run, and not even effective in drawing them votes in the short term.  The mistake of the president's base, it would seem, is that their "upset-o-meter" is cued to report the opposite of "how happy Republicans are at a given deal," instead of a more appropriate metric like "the effect on long-term prospects of getting stuff passed they actually want."

Gnomanomics is a blog about politics and economics with an eye toward explanations for the average person.  We plan on posting portions of our entries here so that the DailyKos community can get a taste of what we are about.  Let  us know what you think.  You can find us here: gnomanomics

President Obama has been accused of kicking his base and losing negotiations in the recent budget showdown with Republicans, having given them "historic" budget cuts without really asking for much in return.  Now details are emerging that show he actually got the last laugh:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Details of last week's hard-won agreement to avoid a government shutdown and cut federal spending by $38 billion were released Tuesday morning. They reveal that the budget cuts, while historic, were significantly eased by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.
Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for poor college students, health research and "Race to the Top" aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives.
And big holes in foreign aid and Environmental Protection Agency accounts were patched in large part. Republicans also gave up politically treacherous cuts to the Agriculture Department's food inspection program.

Not that the political footrace is the most important aspect of this story, but it's hard not to be happy about evading cuts in food inspection programs and Pell grants (previous post aside).  I think the thing that his base often forgets is that the default position at this point is a standstill, much as we saw with the health care reform debate.  That, as we saw, is the most perilous possibility for reelection.  The president, we are finding, must swim forward, or he suffocates.  We have seen him take a lot more proactive position in terms of moving policy forward, with the realization that it's going to come at the cost of the "purity" of policy decisions.  My opinion of what all this is about is that the executive branch is attempting to drive solid economic growth leading up to the election, since the rate of economic growth in the year before election often determines who wins.  At the same time, a lot of what he is giving up is Republican candy--sweet and attractive, something they'll surely go for, but insubstantial in the long run, and not even effective in drawing them votes in the short term.  The mistake of the president's base, it would seem, is that their "upset-o-meter" is cued to report the opposite of "how happy Republicans are at a given deal," instead of a more appropriate metric like "the effect on long-term prospects of getting stuff passed they actually want."

Now, I'm not made of stone, I realize that it's possible to be upset at what was given up in a particular deal while still appreciating the forward movement of legislation.   And I'm just as likely to get frustrated as the next guy.  But this is probably a better framework for understanding the executive branch's mindset right now, it would seem.

We are still far from fixing the actual deficit, given that we did have those $800bn in "Bush" tax cuts extended.  But we have to remember that an improving Real economy is capable of fixing that, as long as we don't keep lowering taxes to compensate.  There are a lot of austerity hawks out there (hello, Austrian school), but austerity is not the only way--nor is it the most productive way--to accomplish deficit reduction.  We do not need to do much more than look at how poorly it's working for a lot of the EU to see that. (This will have to be the topic of another post.)  We can also do curve-bending.  Now, just to be clear... I'm not talking about inflating our way out of debt, and I'm not talking about a general prescription whenever our economy has a downturn.  I'm specifically talking about economic recoveries following downturns as substantial as the Great Depression or the Great Recession, where the economy gets trapped in a deflationary or small inflationary feedback loop. In a liquidity trap, inflation's not the concern--and in the event that we start to see it, we have a full range of movement in our fiscal and monetary policy to put a stop to it.

I'd better stop here before this segues into food and energy costs.  Best to save that for another post.

Poll

Are you happy with the budget deal?

28%12 votes
69%29 votes
2%1 votes

| 42 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  obama fizzles again (7+ / 0-)

    obama made a mistake by accepting republican framing of the debate. you are right to point out the economy is the problem, not the deficit

  •  Thanks for (6+ / 0-)

    the link to Gonomics. I will check it out.

    The media today is calling it ''Obama's sleight of hand'', but of course,some folks on here do not accept nuance or anything short of total victory over the vanquished.

    The fine print does matter,and the devil is in the details,but outraged ''progressives'' will not hear it.

    They want to be catered to,to be mollified by symbolic and actual victories...and for the President to taunt the opposition after defeating them.

    But,as you point out,the only way to move forward on any of those ''critical'' issues in a progressive way is for the economy to continue to trend upward.
    It is easy to be critical of a captain who inherited a sinking ship...''hey,do something!''...but it is not a complete picture of the captain's stewardship until he also gets to command a ship that is no longer sinking.
    He is still doing crisis management 27 months into his presidency...dealing with crisis that are not of his making.

    I am confident when the economy is back on solid ground,and he is in his second term,we will see more of his true nature.  Just my opinion.

    Have a great day!

    •  what gets me is... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      second gen

      some Kossacks saying they won't vote for Obama because he didn't close Gitmo.
      jeeeeeez - some major players and the public OPPOSED closing Gitmo so it's understandable that Obama reneged.

      If the GOP did ONE thing to help the average worker, Unions would donate to THEM.

      by MartyM on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 07:56:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If by reneged, you mean signed an EO (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MartyM

        to get it done, but Congress won't fund it, then yeah, I guess it was a renege. I suppose some here (not looking at you) believe he should just pull the funding out of his own pocket in order to prove he wasn't going to break that promise.

        "They only call it a class war when we fight back." ~Kristina40

        by second gen on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 08:06:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  OK. I understand what you are saying. My only (0+ / 0-)

      quibble is at the end of your comment when you state, "I am confident when the economy is back on solid ground...we will see more of  his (Obama's) true nature."

      How many years of suffering are we to expect until this miraculous economy is on solid ground? Does that mean the economy for the rich, or the economy for the rest of us treading water or already have sunk?

      Then, what is Obama's true nature? We've seen him fail to use the Bully Pulpit to the Party's advantage over and over...then the constant negotiating from the middle.

      Are you saying Obama is going to be more progressive in his second term? If so, I have some craters on the moon I'll sell you cheap.

      Obama does more for the rich than for the poor, which is not what a true Democrat is supposed to be doing, according to the Party Platform.

      Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

      by Wendys Wink on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 08:22:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anytime (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radmul

    you give up more--significantly more, in this case--than what was initially asked for, you've been played for a patsy and a fool.

    Rethugs ask for $30 Billion.  Dems say "$30 billion in cuts is too extreme.  We're only willing to give you $36 billion and that's our final offer.  Alright, $38 billion.  OK, $39 billion.  Oh, alright, $39.5 billion."

    The 11 dimensional chess argument was debunked long ago.  Stop trying to resurrect it.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

    by costello7 on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 08:08:48 AM PDT

  •  Thank you so much. The jelly adds flavor to (0+ / 0-)

    my shit sandwich.

    No home. No job. No peace. No rest.

    by A Runner on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 08:56:16 AM PDT

  •  cenk and jane hamsher's ghost now run DKos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lompe

    their argument is:  unless Obama governs COMPLETELY OPPOSITE to the way he campaigned--that he would incorporate the ideas of all sides and not demonize those who disagree w/ him, even though they demonize him--then he is a sellout.

    cenk is everything he accuses the pugs of being--narrow, duplicitous and arrogant.  These purity trolls don't want Democrats elected they want power and $ for themselves, and I am guessing that Markos tolerates them b/c he is the same.

    I keep seeing him make the same ridiculous points on tv:  'Americans want Obama to be more liberal..Dems lost in 2010 b/c they didn't heave to the most liberal positions..

    what bunk.

    The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.

    by Zacapoet on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 09:00:08 AM PDT

  •  Of course I'm not happy. I blame the GOP. (0+ / 0-)

    The GOP voted for tax cuts for millionaires, refused to address capital gains rates, refused to cut military spending, screamed about Medicare cuts and "government takeovers", and then they want to privatize Medicare, slash Medicaid, and crow about cutting spending?

    I don't blame Obama.  I blame the GOP.  I blame voters who were idiotic enough to stay home and let this happen.  I blame diaries like yours for attacking the Democrats instead of the Republicans.

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 09:12:41 AM PDT

    •  Well, but.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radmul

      I still hold Obama accountable for allowing the Repubs to frame almost every issue and for continuing Bush on war, bailouts, and now military spending.  I will still vote for him, but my money is going to MoveOn and Feingold's Progressive site.  

      I drove up to Madison 4 times and I sent money to help in KloJo's campaign and now the legal challenges.

      Am I still a Democrat?  Not really.  I am a pro-labor, progressive, anti-corporate retiree.  That doesn't look like I have a whole lot in common with the Dems lately.

      "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created." Einstein

      by Flyfish100 on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 09:24:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  yeah you are so right (0+ / 0-)

    rate of economic growth helps determine election outcomes but in this case it will boil down I'm afraid to one sole thing.... the price at the gas pump... in CA we expect to see $5.00 per gallon quite soon

    We simply can't afford to let the opportunity to send a progressive leader like Debra Bowen to DC pass us by; she has courage to stand up to the special interests and the record to back it up. ~ Former Gov. Howard Dean M.D.

    by anyname on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 10:15:54 AM PDT

  •  Republican operative (0+ / 0-)

    Obama is a Republican operative.  How else to explain capitulation before negotiation?

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