Matthew Holt

Obama and Krugman — almost mirror each other

I thought Obama was fabulous last night at the convention. He’s a great speaker, but
also able to gently laugh with his audience. His introduction showed what a tough road he had. If the Republicans manage to convince the American people that a black kid with a single white parent living in middle America is an elitist son of privilege then Karl Rove is better than I thought.

He was happy to rip McCain not on personality but on the issues. I’d like to have seen a lot more from the Democrats at this convention ripping Bush and Cheney on personality, personal corruption and the issues, and I wish Kerry had done even more in 2004, but that’s water under the bridge.

But the key point is that for most Americans things aren’t going well. Paul Krugman, who’s had his differences with Obama says it well today showing just how much key Republicans are out of touch — especially on the economy and health care.

Of course all he has to do is quote Phil Gramm, who appeared in Obama’s speech, and John Goodman who didn’t but does make it into Krugman’s column today. Goodman, of course, was pilloried in THCB yesterday. But I still think it’s a triple bluff on his part.

9 replies »

  1. Fixing healthcare is going to be a problem as long as special interest groups have their say in Washington. Politicians are scared to lose their political money chest that they don’t want to offend some of the groups that pave their golden roads.
    The first step in fixing healthcare is giving people correct information with regards to health and living a healthy life. The meat and dairy industries as an example have threatened to take away support for congressional and senatorial constituents who have tried to get their products labeled as unhealthy even though research supports this.
    The pharmaceutical industry will continue lobbying to keep their drug costs high. With all these industries hammering Washington to keep their own costs high and profits up how can we really fix healthcare longterm?

  2. Baron, what’s your take on the MA plan? That certainly is not private enterprize coming up with solutions, it’s government tapping into taxes with subsidies so that PE can continue to operate a profitable yet unsustainable system that is quickly getting to 20% GDP. If you do some research you’ll find 12 previous business bailouts to the recent one since the Reagan Revolution told us that if we just got government off the backs of business we’d all do better. So far its been trickle up not trickle down. Government oversite and regulations is not communism, socialzed healthcare is not communism, unless you believe the countries that now have government run single-pay healthcare are communist. Is all the tax money given to businesses communism?

  3. @Peter, Bear Stearns and any company making bad decisions like that should be left to crumble and either die or reorganize itself to come back out on top. The government stepping in and helping them, that is not how business needs to be run. If we are going to continue to do that, we should just go to the communi…, I mean socialist, form of medicine he wants.

  4. Obama has alot of great ideas, however he lacks innovation. Innovation will save time and money thats what is important right?

  5. “I don’t want someone in the government having a hand in it. That type of responsibility is better left to organizations with a better sense of a responsibility to the people”
    Baron, like the people in Bear Stearns or all the other geniuses in the mortgage backed securities market? Wall Street wants government out of their life until they need government to socialize their losses. Yea, that’s responsibility to the people.

  6. Who are “most Americans”…? To me that sounds like 75%, but of course 50.1% would be “most”. I am, in all honesty, counting the people I know and maybe for 20% of them, things aren’t going well, but it really doesn’t have a lot to do with the economy or any decisions those big, bad republicans have made. I really can’t say I know much about how he grew up, but I would say that his current (and for several years) income does put him in the “elite”
    Anyway, back on topic, I don’t think that he will be able to “fix” the health care “crisis” we are in as it is much larger than something the president can hope to handle. It’s larger than the government too, it really needs to be reworked from the bottom up and, I don’t know about you, I don’t want someone in the government having a hand in it. That type of responsibility is better left to organizations with a better sense of a responsibility to the people (ironic I know).

  7. In my opinion, Romney is somewhat of a financial genius. So McCain choosing him would be the best choice. But that’s not what this blog is about, and I agree that Obama’s speech was powerful and packed with confidence. It amazed me to see how many people were in attendance, it seems like this election is getting a lot more attention than any other I’ve been alive for. I wonder why that is…

  8. Obama’s speech was really impressive and he seemed to strike a chord both of sympathy and understanding with a broad swath of Americans, not just Democrats, who are worried about their own futures and our image abroad. He seemed Presidential, tough and decisive, and he has a much improved chance to recover from his summer slump in the polls and defeat John McCain in November.
    However, he also left himself open to the charge of being yet another “tax and spend” Democrat who would further extend our national debt bender and savage our fragile capital markets. He had an opportunity to talk about the huge deficit he’s inheriting from his profligate predecessor, and to commit to reducing it. He did not do so.
    Instead, he promised to massively increase federal spending on a host of worthy causes. The promises he made were fiscally irresponsible and unaffordable without far deeper and broader tax increases than he talked about. The idea that you can raise all the money he needs AND reduce the deficit by taxing “only” 5% of Americans (the people who control all our risk capital) is economic nonsense. The “wealthy” will just put their money in tax exempt bonds instead and wait Obama out.
    He talked about encouraging enterprise and risk taking, but plans on paying for his audacious list of social program “investments” and middle class tax relief by huge tax increases on capital gains, personal income, small business profits, encouraging unionization and raising the cost of employment through health insurance mandates or taxes. This is not a recipe for growing out of a near recession, for restoring the value of our tattered currency or a recovery in our skittish financial markets.
    Bob Rubin rescued Bill Clinton and the country from the interest groups Obama pandered to last night. it was an austere fiscal policy, not Clinton’s silver tongue, that produced the 22 million new jobs both Clinton and Obama talked about. No-one appears ready to rescue Obama.
    Matthew’s allusion to Krugman’s “Feeling No Pain” Op-Ed is completely appropriate:
    if the Republicans do not seem to understand or care that people or hurting, Obama seemed to offer a recklesss, pain-free agenda of expanded federal spending. That’s just not the way the world works, and he’s going to be really surprised how difficult it is to persuade a lot of moderate Democrats elected from Republican dominated states to sign on.