Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Obama and Economics

While I am watching the government spending and deficits with interest - as I always have - I think it comes down to two questions:

One, with all we've learned over the past eight, and the past thirty, years: Do you really think President Obama and his economic team are just that stupid? Are they really that naive or clueless? Do people like Peter Orzag and Paul Volecker simply know nothing about economics? Could all their discussion and all their actions just be flat-out wrong?

Two, are you hoping that what the President and his team are doing doesn't work? Not do you fear it won't or think it might not or suspect that it wouldn't or know that it can't. But, do you hope it fails? Knowing that the action will be taken for the next two and four years - and knowing that voters will judge it then - do you hope it doesn't work? Is there something in your heart and mind that hopes two and four years from now the economy is in worse shape?

For my part, I am cautiously optimistic. I hope what the Obama Administration is doing works, and I will vote two and four years from now based on my conclusions about the state of the nation at that time.


Daughter of Eve said...

I do not think Obama is going in the right direction whatsoever (as well as a 15yo girl can understand politics :P), but I do not hope it fails. I think it will just get us deeper into debt for the most part, but we ought to be praying for our President that God would show him what the right decisions are. Also, that he would see God's glory and work for Him. And, that he would stop promoting the murder of helpless infants. This is a political blog, therefore I am telling you what I think. :)


Anonymous said...

There's no way any person or institution can know enough to guide the economy. So I don't blame Obama and his henchmen for not knowing enough to do so, because it's not possible. I do, however, blame them for being arrogant enough to think they can guide the economy and for thinking they would have any right to do so even if they could. You would think that intelligent people like Obama would have learned from history that guiding the economy is not possible because it's too complicated, but Obama and his henchmen are too drunk with power to pay attention to that.

You can hope all you want, Michael.

mmazenko said...

So, Anonymous, I guess that puts you in the "Obama and his team are stupid" camp. You may be right. Though I have a hard time seeing Orzag, Volecker, and Obama that way.

Of course, I'll remain hopeful, as that's all we can really do for now - other than blog, write letters, and yell at the TV. I would hope that all Americans are hopeful. Why wouldn't you be?

Then, if we are worse off, we vote that sentiment when the time comes.

Daughter of Eve said...

What do you mean "That's all we can do"???

banders said...

I'm with you, Michael.

As eventually happens in any discipline, including education, when you get right down to the data, people are going to look at that data and still draw different conclusions. Usually those conclusions are determined by what you believed in the first place.

I think that's what we're faced with. Obama's advisors are looking at the data and seeing that in the absence of a strong consumer economy, government becomes the biggest spender. It can work. That is a lesson from history, Anonymous.

As a teacher, my biggest concern is the rhetoric of fear that seems to have become so popular.

mmazenko said...


It's all we can do because the Democrats won. The voters gave them the presidency and both houses of Congress - a reversal of the last eight years when the Republicans controlled both branches.

They will implement their agenda because they were given authority to do so. Thus, it's the responsibility of voters to judge it two and four years from now with our votes. And we will.

For the most part, that's what I meant.

Anonymous said...

They're not stupid, Michael. They're just being very arrogant and foolish. They want to play God with the economy. They want us to look on them as saviors. They want to think that they can tame the economy, but they can't. No one person or committee or institution can. The economy can't be tamed by anyone. Obama and his team are going to fail in this endeavor, of course, but when they do they'll blame it on something else, like not enough regulation. And then they'll propose and enact more regulation that will only make things worse than before, and they'll again blame it on not having enough regulation. They'll never recognize that these regulations that they and others keep proposing and enacting are the main problem. That's the normal course of business for politicians who are drunk with power. And it's not just Obama. He's just the one that happens to be in power now.

Since it is impossible to have an unregulated economy, who would you rather see regulate the economy, self-interested consumers or self-interested politicians? Do you think that politicians can make better choices than you can about what you buy and how much you pay for it?

Banders, I suppose it depends on what you mean by "it can work".

mmazenko said...

It's not so simple, Anonymous. It's not a choice of consumers or the government doing the regulating. The US has long struggled to, in the words of TR, rein in the more unsavory elements of capitalism.

Consumers vote with the pocketbook - but let's not pretend the Gilded Age didn't lead to the Progressive Era for a reason. I've needed the Attorney General several times in the past year regulate "corrupt" practices of business.

We can argue about levels of regulation - but you trust the market too much, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

We'll never completely rein in the unsavory elements of capitalism. It's impossible. There is no utopia. But consumer regulated markets can be very cruel to abusers. The problem with state regulated markets is that you have the unsavory elements of politics entered into the equation. Which, in my opinion, is much worse than the unsavory elements of capitalism. Politics legitimizes the initiation of force to get what you want. Capitalism doesn't.

In my opinion, you trust the politicians too much.