Monday, October 11, 2010

Midterm Elections: Don't Reverse into a Ditch

In the autumn of 2008, the economy was in free fall. Things were so bad that I was in favor of President Bush's actions to rescue the banks (independent of how poorly they behaved, we simply could not let them drag down the whole economy). The ditch we went into was still plenty deep. For the last two years, the Democrats have been trying to get us out of that ditch. It is slow going, but the economy has begun to recover. The Republicans made the tactical decision to oppose President Obama at every turn, gambling that if the economy did not recover quickly, Democrats would be blamed.

Now you may not like the direction the Democrats took to head out of the ditch. That's fine. But in the next two years, it is critical that we keep moving forward on a path to recovery. You may not be happy with the way things are now, but it would be far worse to go into reverse, backing into the ditch. And that's what the Republicans plan to do.

How do I know: they say so. They have concluded that "stimulus" is unpopular, and they plan to stymy any further stimulus to the economy. They want to revisit the last two years of legislation instead of moving forward. Rush Limbaugh told his listeners, “People want an end to what is happening now. They want the brakes applied to the Obama agenda.” It will be just like 1937, when FDR was persuaded to cut spending while the economy was still struggling out of the Great Depression, which caused the recession of 1937-38.

We need to control spending in the long term, just as one should drive prudently down the road. But we are still coming out of a ditch, so we need to keep the pedal to the metal. And we certainly have to keep the car in Drive, not Reverse.