Posted by | November 21, 2010 07:54 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Usually when Paul Krugman writes about politics (as opposed to economics) I wince.  He analyzes politics like one would expect a Nobel Prize winner in economics to (he assumes those that think differently than him are irrational, stupid, or criminal).  However, his column yesterday made eminent sense to me (blogged by Alan here).  Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already stated his goal is a one-term Obama presidency.  If that is the goal and a bad economy is the best way to ensure it, doesn’t it logically follow that McConnell is in favor of a bad economy?  Steve Benen explains further:

Consider a thought experiment. Imagine you actively disliked the United States, and wanted to deliberately undermine its economy. What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?

You might start with rejecting the advice of economists and oppose any kind of stimulus investments. You’d also want to cut spending and take money out of the economy, while blocking funds to states and municipalities, forcing them to lay off more workers. You’d no doubt want to cut off stimulative unemployment benefits, and identify the single most effective jobs program of the last two years (the TANF Emergency Fund) so you could kill it.

You might then take steps to stop the Federal Reserve from trying to lower the unemployment rate.

This has uncomfortable implications but ones that progressives (and the president) should not shy away from.  When liberals protested the Patriot Act and other actions by President Bush, they were insulted as “treasonous” by those on the right.  And it wasn’t even really asserted that the only reason was that they wanted to make Bush a one-term president, which is McConnell’s motivation for sabotaging Obama’s policy.  Yet Republican policies will deliberately make the lives of Americans worse for a political purpose.  What is the right term for that?

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.