Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama's wide-based strategy

It seems clear that Obama has chosen to go after a whole lot of things at one time. With the economy he had to - stimulus plus making credit available by fixing the banks. Can't help that.

But he's also going after health in a big way, and will go after energy strongly, and probably education, too. Does all this make sense as a strategy?

I think so. "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste" has become a cliche - I wish I had come up with it. With the political tectonic plates moving (I think that's original, or original enough) you can get away with moving a lot of things forward. So it's acceptable to people to look at a lot of things and say, yeah, let's change it. Nothing has happened for such a long time (see Arthur Schlesinger on Cycles in American History), so we're ready just on that basis, like a volcano erupting through the moving tectonic plate. So we're ready on a time basis.

But on a trading basis, doing a whole lot at once makes wide trading possible. That means that you can do health and push the Republicans, but at the same time make a trade off in education with charter schools. And you can have so much going on with the banks that no opposition can really coalesce. Of course I could be wrong, and what could really happen is that disgruntlement on all sides can coalesce.

But I'm optimistic. Don't like being taxed more, however, to fund health care, which is the proposal - no tax deductions with more than 28% tax as the basis instead of the 39% which seems where we will be. Still, optimistic.

Budd Shenkin

1 comment:

  1. Tectonic Plates Are A Moverin'. Good title for a geological spiritual. I agree with you. So, maybe Obama will fail on a few fronts. I hope not, but the point will be that he saw the needs and tried to meet them. That's more than either of the bushes (the father and son undergrowths) or Reagan did. On the latter see Haynes Johnson, "Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan Years." I like the way that Obama is linking helath care to the broader economy. Clinton did that, too, but with far too much Sotto voce, I thought. As for education, energy independence, and global warming, he made the case well in his campaign and even better in his (State of the Union?) speech before the joint session of Congress. I find little to fault in his performance so far.