Sunday, June 5, 2011

So much for Plan A. Unfortunately, there’s no Plan B.

President Obama's top economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, was on ABC This Week. I'm glad I didn't suffer through watching it. According to Scarecrow on FireDogLake:
So Goolsbee was in denial from the opening moment because he didn’t have a decent story to tell even in his own framework. When Amanpour asked him what the Administration could or should be doing to improve conditions, he ticked off items you’d expect to hear from a typical GOP Presidential adviser: we’ve got to get the debt under control; we have a White House effort to identify and get rid of governmental regulations that are preventing the private sector from growing the economy; we should pass “free trade” agreements backed by the Chamber of Commerce; and we should leverage limited public dollars to release billions in private funding for investments.

Goolsbee’s bottom line: “It’s now up to the private sector.” That’s exactly what you’d expect from President Romney’s economic adviser.

It is actually quite a spectacle to watch the administration flounder about on economic policy as the election approaches. As Jon Walker reported on FireDogLake on Friday, Democratic pollsters are finding that Americans have lost patience with the President reminding them that the "recession" began under Republicans, and insisting that the economy is on the mend.

As far as regular voters are concerned there is no recovery and according to Democracy Corps, Democrats need to acknowledge this reality to win in 2012. President Obama needs to stop taking credit for “fixing the problem” simply because most people don’t think it has been fixed.

Mark Thoma at Economist's View notes the same thing:

Austan Goolsbee: It’s Now Up to the Private Sector: remember that the administration has been seeing green shoots just around the corner for some time now, and using this to argue against taking action on the unemployment problem. . . Policymakers have been telling us to have patience for some time now, but patience ran thin long ago. We need action, not excuses to do nothing based upon Republican talking points. We have millions of people out of work, we face the prospect of a five to ten year recovery for employment, yet the administration has no plans to even try to push Congress to do more. I understand that Congress is unlikely to go along, but at least people would realize whose side the administration is on. Because right now -- as the above makes clear -- it's hard to conclude that the unemployed are anywhere near the top of the list.

All of which leaves Brad DeLong wondering: Where's Plan B?

Two and a half years ago I remember asking a couple of newly-chosen Obama appointees: That's fine, but what if it isn't enough and we don't get a strong recovery. What is Plan B? You have to be thinking about Plan B.

Now it is clear: there is no Plan B. There never was a Plan B.

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