Paul Krugman compares government spending, not just federal, but also state and local, during the Obama recovery and the Reagan recovery:
Why did government spending rise so much under Reagan, with his small-government rhetoric, while shrinking under the president so many Republicans insist is a secret socialist? In Reagan’s case, it’s partly about the arms race, but mainly about state and local governments doing what they are supposed to do: educate a growing population of children, invest in infrastructure for a growing economy.The New York Times:
Under President Obama, however, the dire fiscal condition of state and local governments — the result of a sustained slump, which in turn was caused largely by that private debt explosion before 2008 — has led to forced spending cuts.
Two byproducts of the automobile bailout were the carmakers’ acceptance of sharply improved fuel economy and a new commitment to building cars that can meet those standards. The new rules are expected to cut consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day — more than America now produces in the gulf. These and other measures are not nearly as catchy as “drill, baby, drill.” But they have a far better shot, long term, of lessening this country’s dependence on oil imports and keeping gas prices under control.What a surprise. Ken Blackwell adds his voice to malignant chorus calling for bombing Iran's nuclear facilities. Let Israel be Israel, he writes.
"New Historian" Avi Shlaim argues that President Obama should stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran:
The challenge for Obama is to reign in his reckless junior ally and to reorder American priorities in the Middle East. The main threat to regional stability is not Iran but the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. And the main source of hostility towards America throughout the Arab and Muslim lands is Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people and America's complicity in this oppression. If Obama cannot stand up to Bibi Netanyahu in defence of vital American interests, who will he stand up to? His own credibility as the leader of the free world is on the line.Robert Dreyfuss argues that any attack on Iran by the Obama administration is extremely unlikely and that an attack by Israel would not be very effective.
E. J. Dionne says Rick Santorum's efforts in Ohio are pushing Mitt Romney to focus more on hot button social issues than on "kitchen-table" issues that matter most to practically minded voters. More evidence that the longer Santorum remains in the race, the better it is for Barack Obama:
There is, first, the Republican presidential primary fight. Rick Santorum has to win Ohio to keep his candidacy alive. A Mitt Romney triumph would, at last, turn him into the “inevitable” Republican nominee. The second narrative involves the struggle for a state that Republicans must take in November to have any chance of defeating President Obama.Steven Pearlstein:
The problem for Republicans is that the two story lines are not coming together.
If all you did was to listen to Republican presidential candidates (a cruel and unusual punishment, I realize), you would surely be under the impression that the country was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, businesses were barely getting by under the weight of excessive taxation and regulation, and most of the middle class was standing in bread lines. Their relentless demagoguery has undermined the recovery as much as the gridlock politics practiced by their Republican counterparts in Congress. When forced to confront the facts about the economy and the financial markets, the best response these jeremiads can come up with is that it could have been better.Roger Simon makes a common mistake, assuming that the religious right is not that powerful in the Republican Party because it has failed to get its favored presidential candidate elected for decades.
There are some on the left who also cling to the view that the economy is stuck in a depression — lest it undermine their critique about the woeful inadequacy of fiscal stimulus and the desperate need for more.