Paul Krugman's Pre-emptive War on Obama

I have said it before, and I will say it again: Paul Krugman may be a nobel winning economist, but he should keep his day job. He's a terrible political commentator, especially when he goes after pre-emptive attacks on President Obama. In his column in the New York Times today, he delves into one such pre-emptive war on President Obama, saying that "Obama is missing" - while, of course, having not a clue on what he would do and how he'd legislatively accomplish that. Here's his opening salvo:
Maybe that terrible deal, in which Republicans ended up getting more than their opening bid, was the best he could achieve — although it looks from here as if the president’s idea of how to bargain is to start by negotiating with himself, making pre-emptive concessions, then pursue a second round of negotiation with the G.O.P., leading to further concessions.
This - "Republicans ended up getting more than their opening bid" - is so disingenuous and intellectually bankrupt that I don't even know where to begin. You see, if you just read that and don't know recent history, it would be reasonable for you to be outraged to hear that President Obama gave the Republicans more in cuts than even they originally wanted.

Except it's a bunch of horse manure, and I suspect Krugman knows it. This number comes from Boehner and House Republican leader's original offer in January, which blew up on its own, and conservatives in their own party took it down. Boehner folded like a cheap wallet, because he did not have enough votes in his own caucus to pass those cuts. What the Republicans ended up passing in the House, which by any honest measure should be considered their original offer in the negotiations, was $61 billion in cuts, or on an annualized basis, $100 billion in cuts, in line with their "Pledge to America."

So when you rise above the misinformation and look at the facts, here they are, plain and simple: Republicans wanted $61 billion in cuts, Democrats countered with about $30 billion in cuts, and the final number came down to $38 billion. Those are the facts, Dr. Krugman.

Apparently, Paul Krugman can also see into the future and knows the details of a deal not yet public. Taking the opportunity to slam Obama some more, Krugman rails on:
Did he have to praise Congress for enacting “the largest annual spending cut in our history,” as if shortsighted budget cuts in the face of high unemployment — cuts that will slow growth and increase unemployment — are actually a good idea?
You see, Krugman knows the cuts will slow growth and increase unemployment, and he knows this to trash the President whose policies have increased employment beyond expectations int he last few months. The largest share of these cuts, $18 out of the $38 billion, of course, is taken from Defense spending. Why does a liberal like Krugman love Defense spending? Or is it that when it comes to bashing Obama, all principles are off the table?

Yes, there will be other painful cuts, specifically $13 billion cut from the departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services, and a $1 billion across the board cut in domestic agencies. Once again, I would like to know Krugman's plan to legislatively maneuver a spending plan that will be completely to his liking. Let's also remember that the President fought for and saved funding for implementing health reform, and took out policy riders that would have cut off funding for family planning services and blocked EPA regulations of greenhouse gases. While $8 billion being cut from foreign aid is not something we would like to do under ideal circumstances, the maybe the economist Krugman - rather than the political commentator Krugman - can explain to us how cutting foreign aid increases domestic unemployment.

Since we're talking about President Obama here, Dr. Krugman, let me also chide you for completely taking the President's remarks out of context. The remarks Krugman quotes from were taken from the President's address after the deal was reached, which celebrated the government continuing to run (maybe Dr. Krugman can tell us who was supposed to fund his beloved services if the government were to have shut down), the Democratic priorities he fought for and saved, and yes, the compromise on the cuts. If Krugman had any political acumen in this piece, he would have mentioned that Obama has just politically positioned himself as the reasonable person who is willing to do true compromise including accepting some things he doesn't like, while Boehner, despite all his celebrations, is being pounded by the Tea Party types for what they consider to be insignificant cuts.

Krugman also claims that this deal wipes out all the benefits of the tax cut and stimulus deal in December. Really? So, umm, here's how he thinks things are going to go: people will see the deal and say, "Oh my goodness! Now I'm not going to spend the extra money I have in my paycheck because of the payroll tax reduction (or the money from my unemployment check) simply because of that damn deal!" See? No stimulus!

But it doesn't stop there. Krugman gets more insidious with his utterly falsified implication that Obama would either like or give into cutting Medicare and so on:
More broadly, Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion — a philosophy that says the poor must accept big cuts in Medicaid and food stamps; the middle class must accept big cuts in Medicare (actually a dismantling of the whole program); and corporations and the rich must accept big cuts in the taxes they have to pay. Shared sacrifice!
This is ludicrous. Democrats and President Obama have closed multiple tax loopholes for multinational corporations. Health care reform can be credited for saving Medicare, already delivering benefits to Medicare and Medicare beneficiaries like no-copay preventive care, and reducing the cost of Medicare Advantage insurance. It's pretty easy for Krugman to throw dirt from the cheap seats on the sidelines. But it's President Obama who has fought day in and day out to help the poor, keep unemployment benefits extended, saving Medicare, and extending SCHIP to 11 million poor kids in America. I suggest Krugman first do a tenth of what Obama has done to protect the nation's most vulnerable before he starts his war on Obama.

And suddenly, Krugman is concerned about the deficit, too, and how much it's added to by extending the tax cuts for the rich.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center puts the revenue loss from these tax cuts at $2.9 trillion over the next decade.
There are two problems right off the bat with this. First of all, no matter how much Krugman wants to claim it, the tax cuts have not been extended for the next decade. They have been extended for the next two years. Second, Krugman is all of a sudden conveniently concerned about the deficit, while he, for a very long time, has been claiming deficits don't matter. Hell, he's even claimed that deficits saved the world (his words, not mine). So why all of a sudden the crocodile tears about the deficit, Dr. Krugman? Not to mention this line was invented in complete contradiction with the rest of his latest bash piece, which focused on whining about cuts.

He ends with a bad strike:
But if you ask me, I’d say that the nation wants — and more important, the nation needs — a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And that’s not what we’re seeing.
Oh go to h-e-double hockey sticks. Believes in something? What is it you believe in, Paul Krugman, other than poutrage and spotlight? Barack Obama has told us his beliefs and his values, but he didn't have to. He showed us. He helped states from laying off millions of teachers, firefighters and police officers. He passed health care reform that presidents have been dreaming about for more than a half century. He passed the most significant regulatory reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. He took on credit card companies, student loansharks, and instituted student loan reform. He almost single handedly rescued the American auto industry, and now GM is hiring back people it laid off. He did all this during a period of great crisis. In this very budget fight, he has protected family planning for women, environmental protection and health care reform implementation.

You want to know what he believes in? See what he has done for ordinary people in the midst of extraordinarily difficult and hostile (and the hostility came as much from your ilk as it did from the teabaggers, by the way) environment. How do we know what you believe in, Paul Krugman? What have you done for all these people except to spew your garbage in the pages of the Times?

Know one thing, Dr. Krugman. If you want to declare a pre-emptive war on President Obama, fine. But you're going to have to go through me first. And us. And there're a lot of us.

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