What passes for reasoned economic analysis on the Left
Here I am, sneaking in one last post before I head off. (I’ve also set the blog up for some random Open Threads.) Over at Salon, an unabashedly liberal webzine, an article examines the dreaded possibility that Obama might be a one-term president. I found the article a little bit confusing, as it concedes that the nation has declined drastically on Obama’s watch, but nevertheless contends that it’s not Obama’s fault. The fault, apparently, lies with the Republicans, who have controlled the house for five months, rather than with the Democrats, who have controlled Congress since the beginning of 2007 (more than four years), and Obama, who has controlled the executive office since 2009 (more than two years).
The article’s incoherence is summed up in the first two paragraphs:
Republicans hope to unseat President Obama next year with a message that goes something like this: He inherited a bad economy and made it worse, squandered hundreds of billions of dollars on a stimulus program that didn’t create jobs, and blew a massive hole in the deficit that sapped the private sector’s confidence.
You can make yourself crazy pointing out how flimsy these arguments are, but the swing voters who will decide the 2012 election won’t be relying on a measured analysis of the logic of each party’s case to make up their minds. It’s the state of the economy that will dictate their verdict. If they perceive it to be improving, they will reject the GOP’s claims about Obama’s “failed” economic stewardship. But if they believe it is stagnant or getting worse, the GOP line will be music to their ears.
That’s the article in a nutshell: the Republicans are meanly pointing to the collapsing American economy and, based upon “flimsy” arguments, are blaming everything on Obama. The remainder of the article never explains this fliminess, so I followed the link, which led me to a Washington Post blog by Steve Benen. To my surprise, though, I didn’t get a reasoned economic analysis, a la Thomas Sowell. Instead, I got more conclusions, all to the effect that Republicans are lying, mean-spirited scalawags, who simply want to put Americans through Puritanical suffering. Honest. The Salon article, rather than explaining why the Republicans are wrong about the economy, points me to an article telling me that Republicans are mean.
When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have neither the law nor the facts, pound the table. Looks like a lot of table-pounding to me. Or as my blog’s motto states: Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts.