The NYT's Paul Krugman laments the fact that we now have a generation of American youth that will never recover economically from the collapse of the US economy.
The thing is, for all of Mitt Romney's cat-calls that the economy is getting worse, what's happening is no surprise. Krugman and Stiglitz have been saying for years that the current economic slump might not improve for a decade without some serious government intervention. But the Republicans said "no.' The Republicans said the stimulus was a bad idea from the start, and a failure after the fact. After Ronald Reagan and George Bush bankrupted the country, the Republicans yet again called for more tax cuts, because that's all they've got.
And Democrats refused to call them out for it at the time. Some even pulled punches, refused to criticize the GOP for threatening our economic recovery, in the hopes that a kinder and gentler approach would help us cut a deal with the Republicans.
The alternative? How about what I suggested at the time of the stimulus: Tell the American people that the economy isn't going to recover if the Republicans get their way. That's a substantive strategy (pushing for more money) and a PR strategy (educating the public about what's to come and who's to blame). Both are always necessary for political victory.
The Democrats should have been hanging the current economy around Olympia Snowe's, Susan Collins', John Boehner's and Mitch McConnell's heads for the past three years. The Republicans wanted a smaller, or no, stimulus - then so be it. They will be personally responsible when the economy doesn't fully recover for years to come.
Instead, Democrats let the GOP cut the pill in the half and then express shock when the medication didn't fully work.
There's a political, and economic, price to be paid for unnecessary capitulation. Far too many influential Democrats defended the appeasement strategy of 2009, while some of us warned that it would come back to haunt us. We were told that we were politically naive, that we didn't understand the importance of compromise.
In fact, we were right, and they were wrong. The economy is screwed, and the President's re-elect compromised. Just as we predicted.
This isn't about gloating. It's about calling for a necessary reckoning in our party. Or the same thing is going to happen next time, to the detriment of party and country.
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