Friday, November 18, 2011

Mises Pieces

Paul Krugman's latest column has been getting some favorable attention, because he forecasts the failure of the Supercommittee, the Obama-Boehner chimera that was supposed to end our deficit woes. The Week cited it enthusiastically, and I quote this excerpt from their quotation:
Eventually, one side or the other of that divide will get the kind of popular mandate it needs to resolve our long-run budget issues. Until then, attempts to strike a Grand Bargain are fundamentally destructive. If the super committee fails, as expected, it will be time to celebrate.
Oh yeah, right, a popular mandate! The kind the Democrats got in 2008, and then let the Republicans dance on their heads very effectively for two and a half years, when the Republicans regained control of the House. Obama, you'll remember, preferred to put off dealing with the debt ceiling until after the Democrats no longer controlled Congress. Then he could pretend to his base that it was all the Republicans' fault, while the Republicans accused the Democrats of intransigence.

FAIR has shown that the same thing is happening now, quoting Krugman's column:
Well, maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of fear that there would be a political price for seeming intransigent. But this could only happen if the news media were willing to point out who is really refusing to compromise. And they aren’t. If and when the supercommittee fails, virtually all news reports will be he-said, she-said, quoting Democrats who blame Republicans and vice versa without ever explaining the truth.

... Oh, and let me give a special shout-out to "centrist" pundits who won't admit that President Obama has already given them what they want. The dialogue seems to go like this. Pundit: "Why won't the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?" Mr. Obama: "I support a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes." Pundit: "Why won't the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?"
So far the public has given the Republicans most of the blame for the failure to negotiate, so there could be a "political price for seeming to be intransigent." But that will do no good, assuming the Republicans lose their majority in the House again, if Obama and the Democrats don't pick up the ball and run with it. Krugman assumes that they would, and who could blame him, if we didn't have such extensive recent experience of Democratic collaboration with the Right. If the Republicans keep their position in the House and take the Senate as well in 2012, though, it's safe to predict that they will take their mandate and go to town.

(The title of this post comes from a commenter at Roy Edroso's alicublog [under this post], referring to the Austrian school economist Ludwig Von Mises.)