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[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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  By the time 2010 rolled around, they could not (0+ / 0-)

    get any kind of stimulus passed.

    At all.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:57:43 AM PDT

    •  Did they try? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, Sunspots, Illinibeatle, psyched

      They could have embraced the core liberalism of the first stimulus, but they ran from it.

      The excuse is that the horror show of that health care bill had to be passed, all the political capital had to be spent on that.

      If a second stimules couldn't be passed, you still have to fight for your people. We had to pass another stimulus but other choices were made. Again, the little people got the message loud and clear, and we got routed.

      •  Anything in the Senate would have been killed or (0+ / 0-)

        Lieberman-ized into unrecognizability.

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

        by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:36:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Health insurance reform fight was a disaster (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sunspots, psyched

        So many important issues were completely derailed by the health insurance fight, which then caused massive and enduring colateral damage by handing the House to Republicans in 2010. EFCA could have restarted the Labor movement, Cap and Trade was a good start for dealing with climate change (and back then the public actually believed in global warming).

        But, more important than all that, I think there should have been a laserlike focus on JOBs: larger stimulus, executive actions to bypass any congressional obstruction, various bills promoting job creation, etc would have been possible in those early days, if they had been the focus of the Admin, rather than the HCA debacle. And remember, back then, the Repubs were unsure, disorganized and weakened. They hadn't yet figured out that Obama would be such an easily manipulated pre-compromising pushover.

        Personally, my biggest issue is climate change, because it will eventually make all of these other problems seem like chump change. However, as a pragmatic leftist, it was obvious then as now that significant progress on any of these issues would require a strong populist leadership to bring a majority of the public around to support government action. A focus on jobs and middle class issues was (still is) the best way to get support on everthing else. It was also the right thing to do.

        History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

        by quill on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 09:50:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We Only Had Senate Supermajority About 6 Wks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Illinibeatle

    from the time Franken was finally allowed to take office in July till Ted Kennedy was gone in August.

    Other than in that fleeting window, nothing truly effective could have been done by Obama and the Dems.

    But then the catastrophic job he and the party did of motivating voters for the 2010 midterm election led to a defeat nationally and downticket that was historic for either party.

    Motivation comes from a combination of policy and message. Politicians least control policy because they face political opposition in shaping and passing policy. They most control message because it's completely under their control.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:34:24 AM PDT

    •  Supermajority req. was also a Democratic failure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psyched

      The country's interests, like Democracy, should come before a club custom.  Obama could have fought to get rid of that ridiculous regulation.

      And Obama's people looked awfully happy talking about the coming 2010 electoral disaster.  I can still see Gibbs grinning and saying, "There's no doubt" that Republicans would win the House.  And then they would become more reasonable and cooperative.  Right.

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