Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Comment rescues: Perry and the eternal question: where is the opposition plan?

Perry Hood responding here today:

I think you feel stampeded, because Obama's package is not to your liking. Fair enough! What do you suggest?

Perry Hood responding here even earlier today:

Where is Pat Buchanan's plan? He hasn't one! So he is just one more of the Dr No's we see popping up on opposition side. This is no help!!!

Perry Hood responding yesterday at Down With Absolutes:

Dominique, now that you have expressed everything negative, what do you suggest that Obama and the Dems do about this economic crisis that is getting closer and closer to being a full blown depression?

You'd think, viewing the world through the perspective of these comments, that we have a modern Diogenes, replete with lantern, looking for someone who will rise above petty politics and offer an alternative to the trillions and trillions of dollars of spending to prop up an economic system that is horribly broken with strategies that worked (or not) seventy years ago in a world without FDIC, OPEC, WWW, NATO, EEC, and lots of other letters besides WPA, NRA, or CCC...

You'd think that nobody has offered information from reputable economists, or proposed alternative measures.

The funny thing is that Perry knows this isn't true.

On February 10, following several days of extensive posting on the complex non-linear system that is our economy, and followed in the past two weeks by criticisms based on Congressional Budget Office studies, commentary by Jeffrey Sachs and other prominent economists, I offered the outlines of an alternative for dealing with the current meltdown.

Wow--it offered the idea of restructuring financial markets to break up horizontal and vertical corporate monopolies to rebuild the economic firewalls destroyed over the past few decades; providing direct support to States to deal with those worst hit by unemployment or lost medical insurance; and separating the stimulus packages into its constituent elements for individual consideration. The tax cuts I supported were far more modest and far more tightly targeted than those of the administration's stimulus proposal.

I provided extensive documentation over multiple posts, with which someone could take issue, but, surprisingly, Perry didn't:

Steve, your solution regarding creating walls in order to address the messes two and three problems sounds logical to me, although I don't feel informed enough to say much more than that. I agree that a good part of the problem seems to stem from a blurring of the lines between traditional bankers, investment bankers and other Wall Street manipulators/entities.

I am concerned about how we will help the unemployed; leaving that up to the states, with their federal infusions, might be enough, I'm not sure. Perhaps some of the states will use the infusion to balance their books, therefore not incentivized to do the necessary cost cutting; and then there is the question of what is left over to help the unemployed.

On mess one, I like the idea of reductions in the payroll tax, since that goes directly to some of the folks who are being hurt the most. However, I suspect that this will not be an effective creator of jobs. Direct aid to states makes some sense too, although again, the impact on creating jobs is not clear, as this will depend on what the states do with their money grant. On the other hand, I support the elements of the Obama plan which goes to so-called shovel ready infrastructure building, because of the obvious creation of jobs.

[Note: Perry's last point was refuted by a CBO report that i discussed in detail a week later. Perry seems not to have seen that one; at any rate he didn't comment.]

So not only has an alternative been offered here, Perry, you went on record as agreeing with substantial parts of it--even though you seem to have ... forgotten that part.

You have offered engaging insights and shown the willingness to admit that part of President Obama's plan is a massive gamble with our future.

And you're certainly free to disagree with anything we offer.

But please, stop suggesting that libertarians here have not been discussing solutions, and that our responses in any fashion resemble those of the GOP apologists who have only a simplistic mantra of tax cuts and no serious economic analysis to back it up.

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