Obama Whacks Conservative Economic Policies

In a recent post, The Utter Bankruptcy of Today's Republican Party, I argued

As I have written so many times before on this blog, the modern Republican Party ceased being a serious Party when Bush took office. Their leadership and government left America weaker today than it has been since before World War II. They failed to tackle critical challenges on their watch, and ignored warning signs of dangers to come. They have dug a very deep hole for the nation, and today they turned their backs, hard, on a popular President trying to begin cleaning up the mess they made, and do the right thing for a nation in need.

I listened to Republicans over the last couple of days, trying hard to understand the rationale for their opposition. I heard references to a CBO report that had already been proven not to exist. I heard about pork but they offered few specifics. I heard the refrain again and again that tax cuts are the best way to create jobs - an assertion that was disproven by the economic experience of the Bush era. We had historic tax cuts under Bush; job creation was anemic, and incomes for average people actually fell. The tax-cut strategy didn't work. For eight years the Bush Presidency confused cutting taxes with offering a broad economic strategy that would help prepare the nation for the great challenges of this emerging century - and we are all paying the price today. Massive structural budget deficits, ready to grow worse with the retirement of the baby boom. Aging infrastructure. Years of flat wages and declining incomes. Record home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies. 2nd tier rates of broadband penetration. Rising rates of poverty and those without health insurance. A terribly broken immigration system. A global round of economic liberalization unfinished. A badly bungled TARP. But of course one big thing did get done during this period - those massive set of tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans.

In his CEO pay announcement today (a set of remarks that I feel somehow will be studied for a long long time) Obama took off after the failed economic theories of the age of Bush in ways we have not heard often since the election: 

Now, in the past few days I've heard criticisms of this plan that echo the very same failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis - the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can ignore fundamental challenges like energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject that theory, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. So I urge members of Congress to act without delay. No plan is perfect, and we should work to make it stronger. But let's not make the perfect the enemy of the essential. Let's show people all over our country who are looking for leadership in this difficult time that we are equal to the task.

Our good President is showing that while he will work to engage and bring Repubicans on board, he will also be making every effort to defeat their anachronistic and discredited arguments that did so much harm to the nation he now leads.  And it is critical that he keep this tact up in the days ahead for to understand where we need to go we need to know where we have been.  And where we have been has been a conservative-led disaster, of awol leadership, important roads not taken, problems badly bungled.  As the right looks to reassert themselves in this debate it is critical, essential, that our President remind the country what their time in power and their vision brought.  For part of his job will  be to accomodate Republicans themselves while strenously resisting accomodation of their failed approach to governing. 

Of course pulling that off will be no easy task - but no one said this was to be an easy job.