Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

March 10, 2011

STILL ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS.... The top story for most of the day on Mark Halperin's "The Page" featured a headline that stood out for me. It read, "The Big Questions: Deficit, Gas and Libya."


It's since been replaced with a new, more important top story -- apparently a former half-term governor is mad at a liberal filmmaker about something -- but the "Deficit, Gas and Libya" caught my attention for what it leaves out.

This isn't to pick on Halperin. The truth is, the political world is dominated right now by a handful of questions, and "Deficit, Gas and Libya" sums up the discussion fairly well. The only other thing being bandied about in D.C. today is an anti-Muslim hearing in the House Homeland Security Committee.

But job creation and economic growth just doesn't seem to matter to the establishment anymore. Peter King's crusade against Islam won't create jobs. The focus on the deficit will almost certainly make the job landscape much worse.

Taking the economic recovery for granted, as if everything is right on track and we no longer have anything to worry about, is a dreadful mistake. Just today, the economic news out of China was discouraging; Spain's debt issues are renewing cause for concern out of Europe; and first-time unemployment filings in the U.S. were unexpectedly higher. And yet, a discussion about how to bolster the recovery just isn't happening, and by all appearances, isn't going to happen for the foreseeable future.

For Americans, economic growth and job creation easily top the list of priorities, but these don't make the cut on the list of "big questions," because the political establishment seems to have moved on.

The recovery is fragile and could easily slip away, just as it did about a year ago at this time. That Washington is deliberately taking its eye off the ball is hard to understand.

Steve Benen 2:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

Bookmark and Share

Halperin has a job. Doesn't everyone?

Posted by: Riggsveda on March 10, 2011 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't to pick on Halperin.

Why not? The guy's a hack and a joke. Pick away.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on March 10, 2011 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Taking the economic recovery for granted, as if everything is right on track and we no longer have anything to worry about, is a dreadful mistake.

Why does Steve Benen think that Republicans and Right-leaning Villagers like Halperin support spending cuts because they they think that the economy is on track?.

Have these people not made it clear -- crystal, crystal clear -- that they have a fundamentally different view of macroeconomics? They keep telling us, over and over again, that the solution to our economic problems is to cut the deficit, entirely by cutting spending, and then the economy will rebound. The keep telling us this. When will Steve Benen take them at their word?

Posted by: square1 on March 10, 2011 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Since the establishment has jobs, they don't give a sh*t about anyone else.

Posted by: Tigershark on March 10, 2011 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Who gives a crap about this dingbat Halperin character?

Posted by: SW on March 10, 2011 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

That Washington is deliberately taking its eye off the ball is hard to understand.

No, it's not. Corporate America likes unemployment - it leads to more bargaining power against employees and lower labor costs. Politicians are sensitive to the views of corporations and the wealthy, not to middle and lower income types.

Republicans know the value of stimulus. They cut taxes and increase spending when they are in power. A bad economy helps their election prospects. They don't get blamed for their actions, no matter how much they hurt the economy. Look at the recent elections.

They don't have another view of macroeconomics. They just come up with rationales that sound plausible if you can't remember back a few years and don't pay much attention. Look at how they act when they're in power - heavy economic stimulus without concern for the deficit.

Posted by: foosion on March 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Taking the economic recovery for granted, as if everything is right on track and we no longer have anything to worry about, is a dreadful mistake.

It's worked so well for Team Obama so far (see midterms, 2010) why would they want to switch their team motto now?

Posted by: some guy on March 10, 2011 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Short answer:

Al-Jazeera English*.

Seriously, stop complaining about how stupid American media is. If I want to know about what celebrities were caught under the influence of recreational chemicals, or photographic proof od which celeb failed to wear underwear, or some trainwreck millionaire, I'll watch American news.

*Or the Beeb. Whatever works.

Posted by: anonymouss on March 10, 2011 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Not only that, but this morning, scarcely a after handing barking mad conservative activists a couple of scalps, even-the-liberal-NPR aired a story noting Republican complaints about allegedly insufficient domestic oil production being responsible for the spike in gas prices.

The story did point out that domestic production overall has increased under Obama, even if production in the gulf has been slowed. And it pointed out that the US doesn't really have enough domestic reserves to offset a drop in the foreign supply.

But it failed to note that oil is fungible, and so there's no guarantee that domestically produced oil would be consumed in the US, as opposed to feeding the increasing demand of places like China and India. It essentially handed airtime to Republicans to make a complaint that you could tell the reporter knew was bogus.

If the complaint is bogus, why air it at all?

Posted by: Gregory on March 10, 2011 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Halperin has a job and so do all of his friends. Jobs don't matter to him and his friends both in the media and in government. Washington DC has very high employment. For people in that town the great recession didn't even slow down a single cocktail party.

Karl Rove probably thinks his latest ad is pretty clever. What he doesn't realize is that a lot of people outside his circle of billionaire friends look at that ad and wonder "where can I get one of those good union jobs?"

I sometimes wonder if the people in DC don't realize America is in decline, and there is nothing to do about it except keep the rabble entertained with circuses and congressional hearings.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 10, 2011 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

1) What foosion said. The GOP and corporate America think unemployment is great, because workers will take whatever jobs they dole out, on whatever terms.

And the more corporatist Dems will go along with that line, too.

2) The real question is, why has the Democratic Party taken its eye off the ball?

The problem there is, when one of your guys is President, he's deferred to as the party leader. And if Obama isn't pushing the issues of jobs and employment, they aren't either.

So it comes down to the question:

3) Why isn't Barack Obama at least rhetorically pushing for more jobs, rather than buying into the GOP frame of discussion?

Last I checked, this guy had some serious brain cells to rub together. Why is he acting like a freakin' idiot?

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on March 10, 2011 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, where are the jobs?

The 3/4 of my department that got laid offf in 2008 and 2009 would love to know.

I myself am wondering when President Obama will ever utter the phrase "the 99ers' -- the ones who've run out of unemployment.

how many of thse newly created jobs last month went to the long term unemployed. My guess is hardly any, so what are we supposed to do between now and say, 2014 when we all might get hired again?

Posted by: JoblessInJersey on March 10, 2011 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

One party is actively working against the recovery so they can win the Presidency. That's all there is to it.

Posted by: doubtful on March 10, 2011 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

They all have jobs. It's simple. And they don't care about the deficit. It is all about killing the programs they don't like and
More tax cuts for the rich, that's all. Stop being surprised.

Posted by: MImikatz on March 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

"This isn't to pick on Halperin." Why not? Is it overreaching to say Halperin is a corporate tool?

Posted by: jcgrim on March 10, 2011 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Something I have been wondering about.

There was an Egyptian-Libyan War in 1977, started by Gaddafi. In addition Gaddafi has been supporting the genocidal war in Sudan. It appears there was only an armistice.

The Egyptian Air Force's 240 F-16's have a combat range fully loaded of about 350 miles without refueling. This covers from Sallum Egypt to Suluq Libya. In an air-air mode with drop tanks they could engage the Libyans out to 600-700 miles easily. This would cover almost all of the Eastern liberated area.

The best the Libyans could throw in are 1970 era Soviet hand-me-downs, most of which are grounded for lack of maintenance.

An Egyptian air war of annihilation on the Libyan air force [assuming NATO refueling] would last maybe 3-5 days.

Why should the US do the lifting????

Let the Arabs handle their own affairs. Rep. King and the neo-cons to the contrary, the Arabs are grown-ups.

Posted by: OKDem on March 10, 2011 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Halperin has a job. Doesn't everyone?" Riggsveda @ 2:14 PM.

The unemployment rate is just under 9%, but break it down by education level and unemployment for those with a college degree is between 4-5%. So, yes everyone in Halperin's circle of acquaintances probably DOES have a job. Which also means that unemployment for those WITHOUT a college degree probably ranges somewhere around 12-15%.
Put of sight, out of mind...

Posted by: Doug on March 10, 2011 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

sigh..."OUT of sight...".

Posted by: Doug on March 10, 2011 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly