The Democratic Party’s Brain-Dead Economic Policies

aFor years I’ve misjudged the people who generate the Democratic Party’s economic policies.

When President Obama was first elected in 2008, and he opted to focus on a healthcare measure rather than more direct economic reordering, I thought this was because so many of the people in his new administration were carryovers from the Clinton years, and since healthcare legislation went down then, the new Obama Administration simply decided its main priority was to do when its Democratic predecessor had failed to do. I thought, in other words, that the Democrats’ economic policy elite was merely years behind the times in terms of what had to be done to save the economy.

I was wrong. That’s not the main problem of this elite.

Then when I saw Tim Geithner get picked to head Treasury, and the likes of Erskine Bowles picked to represent the Democrats in talks about overall economic reform, I thought this was proof that the party was in the pocket of Wall Street interests, and its policies were mostly designed to earn campaign contributions now, and cushy jobs in the future when this party’s policy elite left office.

I was wrong about that, too.

It wasn’t until just the other day, in fact, that I got a real fix on the Democratic Party’s economic policy-making elite. I read how this elite was shifting from a focus on deficit reduction to growth. The Democratic elite’s version of this Republican deficit reduction priority was to have some new taxes on the wealthy and fewer cuts in services to the needy; its version of the Republican growth priority was to spur it with more education and infrastructure spending while going along with the Republican’s cutting big business taxes — with no attempt to directly link growth with growth in the economic lives of the middle class and poor rather than just making rich folks richer, the only real economic growth in this country for many years.

It was learning of this change of thinking among today’s Democratic Party economic policy-making elite that allowed me to finally understood it, finally got its true measure. This group isn’t just wallowing in a Clinton-era past; it isn’t just in the pocket of Wall Street; it isn’t even just a purveyor of slightly modified Republican priorities. It is genuinely and totally brain-dead — the fact that it’s still able to spew utterances that sound like actual policies from time to time no more a sign of real life than the fact that the hair and fingernails of corpses continue to grow for a time.

In a future post I’ll provide a genuine alternative policy to reanimate the U.S. economy. You’ll wonder why no Democratic policy-maker is promoting it. No need to wonder. They’re all brain dead.

(Coming soon from Michael Silverstein: THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY OF WALL STREET)

10 Comments

  1. Two things, actually three:

    First, totally agree that the democrats are fairly incompetent, with a few bright stars at the top, but on the whole they are pretty stupid, short sighted, and only less dangerous to the well being of this country than the GOP, which is what keeps them afloat. Harry Reid is the leader of that pack of democrats.

    Second, and kind of irrelevant but I can’t stop myself, hair and nails don’t continue to grow after death. The skin begins drying and shrinks, pulling back to reveal more hair and nails, which just makes it look like they still grow.

    Third, is there a particular policy that has recently come out by the Democrats showcasing the fact that they too also just don’t seem to get how to fix things? I didn’t see anything new mentioned specifically.

  2. I will be interested to read the future installments. My default regarding economics is that no one actually understands it well enough to make useful prescriptions except in the most general terms. Over the last generation, I have not seen consistent winning nor losing strategies by either political party. There is still a cyclic process underlying it all that probably controls more than we like to think. Bush senior was a one term president because he was caught up a down cycle which probably was not avoidable.
    At the present time, unemployment is too high, but the Dow Jones is up. Deficit spending is said to be unsustainable, but interest and inflation rates are low and stable. Crude oil prices are high, but they are stable and at a rate that stimulates domestic production. The United States recovery is sluggish, but it is doing well compared to many other nations. I am sure that every one of you can come up with more of these glass half empty/half full contradictions.
    I hope that there will be much to learn from Mr. Silverstein. I am worried that his use of terms like “brain-dead” presages that his analysis will teach me more about rhetoric than economics. There are plenty of people on the internet who are excellent at throwing insults and too few who shed light.

  3. It isn’t so much of a brain dead problem, that has been true for both parties when it comes to economic policies. The individuals of both parties are not stupid, or brain dead, they are just self-serving. This is news?

    IMO,the number one priority to Mr. Silverstein is the economy…not healthcare, not immigration, nothing else. It sounds like a great deal of disappointment, frustration and anger that economic policies are not creating a more prosperous middle class during this administration. If you look back though, the continued demise of the middle class has become a constant in the universe.
    That we have selfish politicians who favor the wealthy is not news either. Not here, not in this time, not anywhere in history. It doesn’t matter which political party temporarily resides, it serves the same lord and master. Unless someone can come along and change the distribution of wealth by a political ideology, this will not ever change.

  4. But just going by track record, you gotta give it to Democratic administrations. Every single major recession(defined as greater than 2% loss in GDP) since and including the Great Depression have occurred during GOP administrations. 1929(Hoover with the assistance of Coolidge and Harding), 1958, 1973, 1982, 1990, 2008. Their policy of reduced govt spending and lower taxes just sucks. Note, there was a recession in 1937, credited largely to the successful push of the GOP in 1936 to reduce govt spending in order to help, it did not. Another way of putting that, a significant recession has occurred under every single GOP administration since Hoover. And yet with that track record, they are still considered the team that knows about how to fix an economy.

  5. To be fair to Nixon, he had little control over the main cause of the 1973 one. OPEC decided to take a dump in everyone’s sandbox.

  6. I am by no means well versed in economic theory and I am not going to dispute the common opinion that both parties are fairly incompetent when producing sound economic policy. But I would add one more observation to Mr. Silverstein’s ideas —it is easy to be brain dead when your opponents place that brain in a concrete box marked with the word “obstruction.”

    There is nothing wrong at all with advocating for an aggressive pursuit of policies which focus on creating jobs with infrastructure projects. What is truly such a letdown is that the GOP has constantly sabotaged any potentially successful, job creating bills at all! Such mindess obstruction when it comes to refusing to do anything that might make the President look good–is truly what brain dead policies are all about!

    As far as the health care bill—the time was right after being denied for more than half a century to find workable ways to improve the quality and availability of adequate healthcare for Americans—so why should Democrats have had to wait until later? At the time, The president and his people, likened the economic crash to a burning house—saying that if they concentrated only on one room, the other ones would have been reduced to cinders before the fires in them could be extinguished. The Obama Administration took to the ground running while investing every bit of possible energy into rescuing the entire patient–including his brain!

    Perhaps Mr. Silverstein would say that I am only perpetrating a myth. But as a witness to recent history in Washington DC., I would say that, The Democrat’s responses, when attempting to resuscitate a near-dead economy, have proven to be every bit worth the effort. Even though, for God’s sake! the other side of the aisle has been resisting every step towards progress, with an absolute refusal to co-operate! Under such conditions, should any of us expect perfection, or even, more rapid progress? Brain damage, takes time to heal!

  7. MS, thanks for what has turned out to a sobering thread.
    Mars, you are sharp as your sword.

  8. MS, thanks for what has turned out to a sobering thread.

    It is increasingly difficult for me to speparate the salt from the sugar.

  9. HUh?

  10. Just saw this. I understand your question, dduck. I was agreeing with your view of the sobering thread. Then, added a too cryptic way of saying, some of these issues are difficult to sort out.

Submit a Comment