Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grade inflation

Robert Reich takes to the interwebs to grade Obamanomics:

Read the whole thing, but here's the pithy essence:

"The 10-year budget gets an A. It's an extraordinary vision of what America can and should become, including universal health insurance and environmental protections against climate change.

The stimulus package gets a B. Good as far as it goes but doesn't go nearly far enough.

The last grade is for the bank bailouts. I give them an F. I'm a big fan of this administration, but I've got to be honest. The bailouts are failing."

Well Bob, that's a hell of a curve you're using. Here are an alternative set of grades.

10 year budget: C-/D+. Remember this is supposed to be about economics, not social engineering and the budget leaves government too large and the deficit way too large.

Stimulus package: C/C-. Even if one grants the administration the existence of a decent sized multiplier, there were too many conflicting goals to make the spending truly timely and stimulating.

Bank bailouts: B-. We put public money into bank capital to avoid a meltdown of the financial system. To my mind what made the great depression so protracted and hideous was the meltdown of the financial system, so I applaud these actions as necessary. However, the stops and starts, the changes in plan, the non-transparency, the politicization makes giving a truly good grade impossible here.

Here's another Obamanomics grade:

Auto Industry restructuring: F. So far, it's just talking tough while continuing to shovel money into non-functioning firms (and, no it's not the same thing as the bank bailout, not nearly). Especially nuts is the idea that banks who have taken TARP money should take a big loss on the Chrysler bonds they hold, essentially to show they are "team players". You can't really simultaneously prop up and undermine them can you? Well I guess you can, but maybe you shouldn't.

3 comments:

Tom said...

Has Robert Reich ever been right about anything? Surely, he must've, but I can't recall it.

Anyway, I have to give Obama all F's on the subjects listed and also on leadership. You just don't ever use "catastrophe" to describe your country's situation. Also, you must avoid even the appearance of using the police (FBI, DoJ, whatever) to punish your political opponents.

Anonymous said...

Tom ,please talk sense. Whn did Obama use the police on opponents. Are you listening to too much Fox Nes or Rush L?

Confidence has increased (% of the public thinking America is on the right track) so I wouldn`t give Obama an F for leadership.

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