Copyright 2002 thru 2009 Donald L. Luskin don-at-luskin-dot-net All rights reserved. "The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid" and "Krugman Truth Squad" are trademarks of Donald L. Luskin www.poorandstupid.com
"The road is cleared," said Galt. "We are going back to the world." He raised his hand and over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar.
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Saturday, March 06, 2010
ONE DULL AXE
My DC-insider friend "Mick Danger" seems to think that somehow I'm to blame for the collapse of the Obama administration's public prestige. Mick, flattery will get you everywhere!
This is all your fault, Don, pointing out as you do the many mistakes of the Obama Era, Year One. If David Axelrod’s dream of total magical mystery transformation dies, he knows that the bloody knife will be found in your hands.
Mr. Axelrod said he accepts some blame for what he called “communication failures,” though he acknowledges bafflement that the administration’s efforts to stimulate the economy in a crisis, overhaul health care and prosecute two wars have been so routinely framed by opponents as the handiwork of a big-government, soft-on-terrorism, politics-of-the-past ideologue.
See, it’s not the President’s fault and certainly not the Axe’s fault. He says so himself. Let’s examine his statement again. Key words: “bafflement” and “framed.”
The declining public opinion of the President, seems to say the Axe, is the fault of those who pointed out that the heavy burden of the cost of Obama’s substantive policies will sink our national boat.
Is Axe really “baffled”or just reeling in another slow fish from the NYT?
Does he really mean to infer that because people like you and me pointed out early that the $1 Trillion stimulus smorgasbord of pork and government union featherbedding would not stimulate anything but the size of the public debt, is it therefore our fault that only 28% of those polled “trust” Obama on “the Economic Crisis” at a time when 84% of the public believes the “Economy” is the most important issue to them as voters?
In his twisted mind, it does not redeem us that we were (and remain) correct. We are bastards!
Hey, Axe: If the President is actually guilty of being a big-government, soft-on-terrorism, politics-of-the-past ideologue, no one needs to frame him as such. No one needs point it out. 75% of the public believes it already.
[Time out for a little lesson to sharpen up the Axe, in case he’s a reader: Your bafflement, if it exists at all, is caused by breathing in your own exhaust. Instead, take in the fresh air of six easy steps from ole Mick:
1. The public will follow a new president in almost any direction for the first six months, particularly a bright and attractive one who was elected by a big margin.
2. In months 7 and beyond, the same public will expect that president to produce something. We’re not picky or overly demanding but your agenda better relate to our needs.
3. Those who produce failures will lose the public’s support but not necessarily their affection. It’s not impossible to recover, but it’s very hard.
4. Incompetence is bad, but some of it is expected.
5. Misleading is worse. Lying is deadly.
6. Those presidents who lose most, though, will be those who the public sees as taking the country in the wrong direction while casting blame on others and lying about their own mistakes.
Got that? Has next to nothing to do with “communications.”
By the way, why would the Obama White House be so incompetent, mislead and lie, about job creation numbers if their Stimulus program — year one’s only “accomplishment” -- was actually creating real jobs? Doesn’t the Bureau of Labor Statistics exist to count real jobs? Which Obama team member was supposed to be in charge of that?
Enough messing with Joe, that’s too easy.
Back to man-handling the Axe: Once again the lost souls at the NYT meet a loser liberal warrior and become consumed in empathy. In one of the final grafs, the Axe ponders an exit.
As Mr. Obama began his term, Mr. Axelrod told him he would stay at the White House for a finite period — believed to be about two years — and that time frame remains unchanged. “I’ve learned more things in the last year than I will ever learn in my life,” he said. “It’s just something you can’t do forever, or it will kill you."
No, not so fast. You stay right inside the wheelhouse of the White House. Stay Baffled...or Pretending. Moreover, keep blaming us. Please, do more speeches and stunts on the healthcare bomb. We think you can drive The O’s numbers down if you work at it.
JOURNALISTS, THAT'S WHO
That being the answer to the eternal question, "Who cares for a hostile opinion based on incorrect, easily disproved assertions?" My DC-insider friend "Mick Danger" elaborates:
In the opinion-slinging world we live in, lobbyists are easy game for the lazy man of prejudice. Bank lobbyists are easiest among them. Just fire up the Word Doc and blaze away: the next crisis in our financial system is being caused by evil bank lobbyists undermining reform as in “real reform.”
They’ve successfully diluted financial reform. Breakups and harsh limits on trading activities seem unlikely. Banks may face a new consumer regulator, but its power is evanescing daily.
How f#cking easy is that, dude?
Real reform would be returning responsibility to every financial transaction. Regulation, properly conceived, could assist that. Badly conceived, over-wrought regulation leads only to litigation and fear. Fear equals “stop.”
The current debate is a litigator’s dream and everyone’s else nightmare. Will Barney prevail over Chris? Will Shelby sabotage Corker? Blah, blah, blah. None of the current legislative or regulatory proposals goes to the heart of the last problem or averts the next.
Think a supercharged Fed has the capacity to stop systemic risk? Ah, no.
Think that a truly powerful Consumer Finance Protection Agency will protect consumers from getting financed? (Ahem, why, yes that’s all it can do if it does anything at all.)
Think the same Senate Banking Committee which ignores Fannie & Freddie now (as it has before) understands the vital importance of reining in financial institutions which are out of control?
This is like the government’s approach to pollution: sue every farmer over every petty violation but ignore the toxic waste on every military compound because well...that’s the government’s fault.
A few thousand more cops crawling around inside banks and brokerages will not help restore economic vitality to an economy where credit is f#cking absent.
Every single lender is afraid of the bank examiner sitting, right now, inside their offices asking them to raise tier one capital which translates into “don’t lend.” Oh, and Basel the Third will be by later this year to ask you to raise it again.
Last rant: who cares that a once promising journalistic bunch like “Breaking Views” is pushing uninformed, incorrect political tripe? Well, I guess I do because of what it portends.
This same broken drum will be beaten a million times by journalists seeking an easy narrative to round-up the usual suspects. Meanwhile, while bonuses are back in the surviving Wall Street firms, paranoia still reigns inside banks which face the public and used to feed businesses large and small. Yes, the big banks are content, for now, to borrow from the Fed at near zero and make money on the carry. Ain’t no future in that.
Lobbyists Scaling Back Real Reform? Nah, just a few hundred registered representatives of private sector financial institutions trying to limit the government’s plan to hurt their customers and their business during a populist feeding frenzy.
The horror is the ignorance of the consequences of this same ole blame game aimed by those inside Government at everyone outside their walls. Who gets hurt? Someone out there who might deserve a loan and could create an actual job one day.
P.S. Full Disclosure: I am no longer a lobbyist (happily) but spent 21 years helping businesses and citizens exercise their First Amendment rights “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That very same First Amendment which protects freedom of speech and of the press.