Blake Borgeson, in blog form

suspected facts. validated opinions.

obamanomics needs a one-liner: excellent nytimes article on obama’s economics views

with 5 comments

There’s an excellent (once-a-month excellent, if I can say that) article that appeared on the nyt website yesterday on Barack Obama’s economics philosophy, and ideas for what we need to do to fix the state we’re in. If you have time (it’s 8 pages, but worth it), it explains a lot about the politics of economics over the last few presidents, and is very clearly written and applicable right now.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/magazine/24Obamanomics-t.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

Here’s an excerpt that sums up the gist of Obama’s views.  This came in response to a question, after an hour of economics discussion with the journalist, as to whether or not Obama “had a message that compared with Reagan’s simple call for less government and lower taxes.”  Obama’s reply:

I think I can tell a pretty simple story. Ronald Reagan ushered in an era that reasserted the marketplace and freedom. He made people aware of the cost involved of government regulation or at least a command-and-control-style regulation regime. Bill Clinton to some extent continued that pattern, although he may have smoothed out the edges of it. And George Bush took Ronald Reagan’s insight and ran it over a cliff. And so I think the simple way of telling the story is that when Bill Clinton said the era of big government is over, he wasn’t arguing for an era of no government. So what we need to bring about is the end of the era of unresponsive and inefficient government and short-term thinking in government, so that the government is laying the groundwork, the framework, the foundation for the market to operate effectively and for every single individual to be able to be connected with that market and to succeed in that market. And it’s now a global marketplace.

Now, that’s the story. Now, telling it elegantly — ‘low taxes, smaller government’ — the way the Republicans have, I think is more of a challenge.

Read the article if you want more.  I solidly agree with the bulk of Obama’s general economics positions, at least most discussed in this article, and also that we all need come up with a pretty package for it.  If you come up with something great, let me know.  If you disagree, keep quiet let me know.

Written by blakeweb

August 21, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

5 Responses

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  1. I haven’t read the 8 pager, and probably won’t, but I did want to point out that the excerpt you reprinted is full of politician speach that makes it painful for me to listen to politicians.

    I am as a big an Obama fan as the next intelligent American, but it bothers me when they talk about their views without saying anything and just using words that everyone agrees with.

    “drove it over a cliff”, “So what we need to bring about is the end of the era of unresponsive and inefficient government and short-term thinking in government,” “the foundation for the market to operate effectively and for every single individual to be able to be connected with that market and to succeed in that market”

    It seems to me that every politician and president would agree that we want an ‘efficient’ and ‘responsive’ goverment and one that thinks in the ‘long-term’. It also seems like every president would want the market to ‘operate effectively’ and for people to be able to ‘succeed’

    The trick is when using language like that for people to think “Oh yeah, I guess I am for an efficient government…go Barack!” — This is a common thing people do in the businessplace as well.

    The real question and the real difference comes in when they begin discussing HOW the government could be more efficient or HOW to make people more able to succeed in the market place — which I’m sure the paper that I won’t read talks about =)

    Dan Graham

    August 22, 2008 at 6:37 am

  2. Dan,

    Your comments are all spot on. In retrospect, I can see that the excerpt I chose doesn’t do much more to talk about what ideas Obama has about what will change. It more just describes at a high level, via references to the last few presidents, where Obama sees himself on the political spectrum economically.

    As you supposed, there are lots of more specific details in the article itself, and to that point, that’s really the challenge someone like Obama faces. He’s really got a good handle on the economics issues in my opinion, and I think this article shows that, but how can he communicate that to Americans? Not more than 1 in 20 Americans is actually going to read anything as long as that whole article, and it’s a lot less than that probably. So how does he convince the country that he’s the best person to put in charge of it? He’s got to break it down into terms people can understand, and that’s the goal I think he’s trying to work towards mentally in that excerpt.

    One of the specific ideas/plans mentioned in the article, something I’ve been hearing about in the last couple of months as a possibility, is decreasing the payroll tax. The way it’s structured, it essentially discourages businesses from investing in people. I agree that decreasing or phasing out the payroll tax, and picking up the slack with the changes he proposes to income and capital gains taxes, would likely be great for the country.

    blakeweb

    August 22, 2008 at 9:17 am

  3. The first thing that we must think of is payroll services. We have such an abyss between the income of rich people and poor people… The distance can't be described and we should make it possible to describe…

    tiberiu84

    December 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

  4. Tottaly agree to the article. I think the same way. Thanks a lot for sharing this information.

    Lotto

    July 20, 2010 at 7:36 am

  5. One of the specific ideas/plans mentioned in the article, something I've been hearing about in the last couple of months as a possibility, is decreasing the payroll tax. The way it's structured, it essentially discourages businesses from investing in people. I agree that decreasing or phasing out the payroll tax, and picking up the slack with the changes he proposes to income and capital gains taxes

    Lottery

    July 27, 2010 at 4:37 pm


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