where I set Lambert straight and piss off Bo Cutter :o)
Bo Cutter posted at New Deal 2.0 recommending that Obama "reset" his Administration by bringing in as WH Chief of Staff either Erskine Bowles or Leon Panetta (who's not a bad guy, but if Obama wants a CIA Director to be his BFF, I think Robert Gates has dibbs).
Lambert responds with, What does it matter which legacy party wins?
And I unload on Lambert (OK, actually on Bo):
Lambert, Its the difference between Erskine Bowles as WH Chief of Staff or… Alan Simpson. :o)
I shouldn’t be so hard on Bo, he is a good guy and he is active in many worth causes, but he’s dramatically understating how inadequately the President has led or how much he weakens the power of his office be fruitlessly negotiating with political opponents who hold him in contempt.
There was a time when moderate Republicans like Vermont Senator Ralph Flanders were willing to work with a Democratic President to advance common goals. Flanders is dead and those days are gone. In the 1940s, Flanders with the estimable Beardsley Ruml (a New York Fed Chairman who wrote “Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete”) started a pro-Keynesian business group called the “Committee for Economic Development” (CED).
As JK Galbraith wrote in the 60s, “Nobody could say that he preferred massive unemployment to Keynes. And even men of conservative mood, when they understood what was involved, opted for the policy– some asking only that it be called by some other name. The Committee for Economic Development, coached by Ruml on semantics, never advocated deficits. Rather it spoke well of a budget that was balanced only under conditions of high employment”.
It was CED staff economist (and later, CEA Chairman) Herb Stein who coined “full employment budget” that President Nixon used in the 1971 State of the Union (”a budget designed to be in balance if the economy were operating at its peak potential. By spending as if we were at full employment, we will help to bring about full employment”). I’d like to see the Robert Gibbs try to punch THAT hippie.
Alas, the CED is now but a caricature of its former self (I guess its unkind to point out that Bo sits with Pete Peterson on the Board of Trustees). On its web page, “CED has strongly supported fiscal responsibility throughout 66 years of work on federal budget issues, and supported by the generosity of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, CED will continue to advocate for fiscal responsibility”.
Well, here is a compromise! Since the CED has always supported fiscal responsibility, then its very own ‘full employment budget’ concept is the very definition, the gold standard if you will, of fiscal responsibility. After all, surely no prefers massive unemployment to Keynes. Even if the President makes a stand on here and loses, oddly enough (blame it on the Rocky movies) the public will respect him more than if he continues to take a dive in the first round.
In short, now through 2012, any day the President uses the word “budget” not proceeded by the words “full employment”, it should be counted as an in-kind contribution to the Huckabee for President committee.