Green Room

Short-term Obamanomics vs Long-term Romneynomics

posted at 12:14 pm on July 7, 2012 by

This is largely how Juicebox mafia capo Ezra Klein sees the difference between the presumptive nominees’ economic plans:

In his news conference, Romney emphasized four ideas in his plan: expanding domestic energy production, working out trade agreements with Latin America, cracking down on China and cutting the corporate tax rate. These are all reasonable ideas. But working out trade agreements takes a long time. Getting the Keystone oil pipeline up and running takes a long time. Rewriting and implementing a new corporate tax code takes a long time. Changing China’s policies takes a long time. It’s difficult to see how any of these ideas creates a substantial number of jobs quickly.

Obama also tends to emphasize four parts of his plan: increasing infrastructure investment, hiring more state and local workers, doubling the size of the payroll tax cut and adding a new set of tax cuts for small businesses and companies that hire new employees. Two of those policies imply directly hiring hundreds of thousands of workers. The other two move money into the economy immediately. It’s easier to see how these policies lead to more jobs and demand in the short term.

Klein generally argues for Obama’s approach on the grounds that: (1) Obama’s plan is specific, while Romney’s has not; and (2) Obama’s plans would boost job creation now, while Romney’s would not. You will be as shocked a Capt. Renault to discover Klein is not entirely correct about either point.

Klein is correct that Obama has proposed some $450 billion in tax hikes on the productive sectors of the economy. However, as Klein should know, those are recommendations to the so-called “super-committee,” because Obama really does not care whether they happen. Moreover, self-professed policy wonk Klein must know that Obama’s overall plans are not “paid for” even in the medium term.

As for Romney, I have freely acknowledged that Romney’s lengthy economic plan is more a plan to have a plan than a plan. However, Klein is aware of said plan. Moreover, Klein has written that Romney’s plan is similar to those of Rep. Paul Ryan, whose detailed budget has been passed twice by the House GOP. Presumably, a federal budget is more than sufficiently detailed for the average swing voter; it is certainly sufficiently detailed for Team Obama to have attacked Romney over it, a practice almost certain to escalate as November draws closer.

Klein’s second defense is more puzzling. Team Obama is still flogging a “vision for an economy built to last, one that creates the jobs of the future and makes things that the rest of the world buys.” This seems at odds with Klein’s cheerleading for short-term thinking. Then again, Obama’s own proposals seem at odds with Obama’s stated vision, so I do not blame Klein on this point.

Moreover, it is difficult to see how increasing infrastructure investment even creates jobs now. After all, Obama and the Democrat Congress 2009 tried it in 2009. Mind you, at the time, Ace (a blogger who affectionately refers to his readership as “morons”) had figured out that there’s no such thing as “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects. Although Obama would later joke about this, it appears that he and Klein have again drunk deep of the Keynesian Kool-Aid. Economists (for whatever their projections are worth in the era of “unedxpectedly”) do not project all that many jobs being created for that $450 billion price tag, which may explain Senate Democrats’ lack of enthusiasm for Obama’s plan. If you want to argue that Obama’s plan would create jobs now, you might want to be able to show his own party is interested in passing it. It appears that even high-ranking elected Democrats have tired of Obama’s myopic vision for the American economy, even if pundits like Klein have not.

Recently in the Green Room:



Trackback URL


Many good points Karl. I think the bottom line is, Romney is a businessman and the US govt. needs to be run like a business and not like a vending machine that dispenses charity and favors and never runs out of either until we go bankrupt.

hopeful on July 7, 2012 at 7:12 PM


ARIZONAVETERAN on July 8, 2012 at 2:00 PM

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
Top Pick

“what happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives…”

“The jobs are still leaving. Nothing has stopped.”

Bad vendor. Bad! No cookie!

“The Corps is just starting to grapple with the issues the court has identified.”

“So you want me to sing my praises, is that what you’re saying?”

Why would we possibly want that?

“I mean he sold our country to The Russians.”

I could think of someone else you might want to ask about…

“You can ask a hundred people what hate speech is and you get a thousand different answers”

Trump: I never made any recordings of Comey

Allahpundit Jun 22, 2017 2:01 PM


Hackers stole private data from election databases

John Sexton Jun 22, 2017 1:21 PM

“90,000 records stolen by Russian state actors contained drivers license numbers”

Failure to protect the city

Big man on the Middle Eastern campus

Biased Americans see media as biased.

Tough times down on the liberal ranch

Will Nancy Pelosi survive this latest Dem disaster?

Andrew Malcolm Jun 22, 2017 8:41 AM

Eat quick, before it’s gone.

Slow your roll, boss

“I’m bothered by the lack of emerging evidence…”

FIrst look at the Senate health bill

John Sexton Jun 21, 2017 9:21 PM

“the Senate bill would go farther than the House version in its approach to cutting Medicaid spending.”

Divide and conquer?

“If we do nothing, more companies will back out and more people will lose coverage.”

You know, I may have cracked the case for you, guys

“They’re still running against her and still winning races.”

“…the suspect is from Quebec and has a Canadian passport.”

When the Left lost their way on immigration

Jazz Shaw Jun 21, 2017 2:41 PM

It wasn’t all that long ago, really

“I personally watched some of these students go up to Chief Brown, right up to her face, and call her all kinds of names, cursing at her.”

Did the Queen “nix” a Trump visit to London?

Jazz Shaw Jun 21, 2017 12:41 PM

More like wishful thinking on the American left

Sometimes it’s hard. This was the hardest part

Did the polls get the Handel/Ossoff race wrong?

Allahpundit Jun 21, 2017 11:21 AM


Physician, heal thyself

Maybe we’ll stay home and watch.