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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Krugman: Celebrating Defeat

April 9, 2011, 2:13 PM

Celebrating Defeat

by Paul Krugman

Ezra Klein gets this right, I think: it's one thing for Obama to decide that it was better to give in to Republican hostage-taking than draw a line in the sand; it's another for him to celebrate the result. Yet that's just what he did. More than that, he has now completely accepted the Republican frame that spending cuts right now are what America needs.
It's worth noting that this follows just a few months after another big concession, in which he gave in to Republican demands for tax cuts. The net effect of these two sets of concessions is, of course, a substantial increase in the deficit.
I also think that Ezra is right that the Obama people are counting on a growing economy to pull them through. In fact, I think that's been their strategy since the January 2010 State of the Union, when Obama shifted his focus from any effort to boost the economy and started talking about spending freezes. The judgment was apparently that it was OK to move policy in the wrong direction, because the economy was strong enough to weather the shock, and that it was more important to look centrist than to defend good policy.
Of course, that didn't work out too well last year, did it?

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