The most telling economic indicator about Sunday's New York Times Magazine investigation into Advanced Obamanomics is how it is not very economical with the words! There are 58 incidences of the word "but" alone. (Plus 10 "yet"s, 6 "however"s and 2 "on the other hand"s.) See, he is at heart a radical Marxist, but also a Clintonian sellout! A lover of markets, but also regulation! Etc. etc…1. He wants to cut taxes BUT he also wants to raise them! Barack Obama actually wants to cut taxes by an average of $900 a year for the average household, which is wayyyy more than John McCain. BUT, for the average household in the .01% of households, he wants to raise taxes by an average of $800,000 a year! This is radical socialism yes BUT we agree with former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin who maintains that studies show it is not sufficient to "stifle innovation" especially with regards to how rich people do their taxes. 2. He thinks Ronald Reagan did some good things for the economy BUT he also thinks Bill Clinton did some good things for the economy. Put another way, he is from Chicago BUT he is also from the Chicago School. As we all know, Barack Obama was a community organizer in Chicago. That job led him to think welfare reform was not a good idea, probably because he worked with people on welfare. But at the same time he also taught a constitutional law class at the very "Chicago School" that is the hotbed of all those people who think despite all evidence to the contrary that markets solve everything. By some form of "osmosis" Barack Obama is said to have absorbed the realization that markets do actually solve some things and now he wants to apply them to solving pollution or something. 3. He likes Bob Reich BUT he also likes Bob Rubin! So did Bill Clinton, you say? True enough BUT! Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs moneylover Bob Rubin ultimately prevailed in the "Battle of the Bobs" with Labor Secretary Bob Reich over Bill Clinton's economic policy. BUT! It is not 1993 anymore! Fifteen years have passed! Bob Rubin got Bill to cut the budget deficit, which was good for interest rates, which was in turn good for rich people, and also deregulate the fuck out of everything, which was really good for rich people, but guess what he just told the Times? He said: "The distributional issues are obviously more serious now." A few weeks ago Obama even tried to broker a little peace agreement with the Bobs over dinner!
He was sitting at a conference table, with Rubin two seats to his left and Reich across from him. "One of the points I raised," Obama told me, "is if you just use you, Bob, and you, Bob, as caricatures, the truth is, both of you acknowledge the world is more complicated."
4. Barack Obama's gut instincts regarding commonsense economic issues can seem bad BUT other times they seem remarkably good! Early in the piece, Obama is described for taking his part-time professorship at the University of Chicago to "make extra money." I think we can all agree that you are not supposed to go into academia for the money! But later in the piece, Obama is described giving a speech to a bunch of economists about how laid-off factory workers should not have to all become nurses just because health care is the only sector creating new jobs in the economy because some of them probably would feel like that would be gay and what factory workers really want to do is "make stuff." Obama's suggestion was that we give factory workers jobs improving our roads and national infrastructure. Well, a few days after this speech, that huge bridge collapsed in Minnesota! You have to give the guy props for those political instincts. (And to that end: He changed his mind on welfare reform BUT he has yet to change his mind on ethanol subsidies. Sigh.) 5. Republican wonks say this fiscal policy will result in "European style social democracy" BUT the Obama campaign maintains they are simply following the model of the state where those Republican wonks live! Yes, Virginia! (Heh.) As Chicago school resistance member Tom Frank has observed, Virginia is very very rich. (But as Tom Frank's fellow Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan has observed, you would not know how rich they are by their governor's Detroit-esque haircuts.) Virginia's thriving economy is one big love note to the economic boons to be reaped from big government spending, but the state didn't get that way by broadcasting its love for big government spending. Quite the opposite: they are all Republicans who support it when the government contracts out its functions in the name of "small government" so executives and lobbyists can reap a disproportionately large percentage of the ensuing economic output. And Virginia's per capita income is now 7% higher than the national average. (Not least because they have five of the country's richest counties.) Whatever, the point is: Obama will follow the economic lead of Virginia in the rest of the country, while trying to reduce the role of lobbyists, as long as Virginia's voters don't get in his way. Barack Obama, A Free-Market Loving, Big-Spending, Fiscally Conservative Wealth Redistributionist