Getting the Message right: Obama Economic Policy

Senator Chuck Schumer made some comments the other day that have riled up democrats. Err … do democrats actually get riled up? Apparently the do, though rarely.

Schumer argued that the disastrous results of the mid-term elections was caused by strategic mistakes made by the Democrats back in 2008 The country was in an economic crisis, and the president and democratically controlled Congress gave them health care reform. Health care reform that affected only a small portion of the population. Is it so surprising then that the democrats were not rewarded with more electoral support?

Of course, this is an exaggeration. Obama did make economic policy decisions in the early days and he talked about unemployment. The problem was that the policy was too timid. Krugman was right.  And why was he so timid? I think the administration was afraid of getting attacked as profligate spenders. Well, they got attacked for that anyway and they got very little in the way of results to boast that the spending worked. Oooops!

Lesson to be learned: Those early days were critical in setting the tone of the years that followed. And Obama’s message was less effective that it might have been  had he been bolder.



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