Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Agree with Reich

Robert Reich has an very interesting post on the strategic choice that Obama faces with his stimulus package. It has actually changed my thinking.

Here's the choice. Does he make it as big as possible for economic effect and roll the Republicans to get it enacted? Or does he work with Republicans, which will inevitably mean a smaller package that may not work? Paul Krugman comes down firmly on option one. Surprisingly, Reich goes for the second path saying:

Why would he ever choose the second strategy? Because his goal is not just to get the biggest stimulus package he can squeeze through Congress. It’s to get a Congress that’s mostly united behind whatever stimulus package emerges. This would ensure that Republicans and blue-dog Democrats take some ownership of the package, and therefore responsibility for making it work.

As partisan as I am, I agree with him. Clinton rammed through his economic plan, which led to 8 years of prosperity and he was rewarded with a loss of a Democratic majority in both houses. Bush rammed his through leading to vicious partisan divisions for his entire term.

Obama has got a long term strategy for making fundamental change in Washington. I agree with Reich that, while working with the Republicans might mean a short term loss in economic effectiveness, it could work to bring about the fundamental change that Obama has promised for the whole campaign.

Maybe he meant it?

1 comment:

Nicholas F. Kowalski said...

I also agree, Bill. This is a very hot topic amongst my peers right now. The folks who are more policy savvy tend to agree with Reich's opinion, those who are excited to move forward and correct Bush policies are more in-line with Krugman's opinion. One of President Obama's biggest assets is the relatively warm political environment right now. There will be plenty of hard-line partisan battles in the future when Dems can "roll" the GOP, if you will.