Friday, June 8, 2012

Romney, Obama and the Big Diversion

Apparently, Romney's latest talking point is that Obama "knowingly" slowed the economic recovery by focusing on passing health care reform rather than improving the economy. Sigh. Never mind whether this is true or not. If you believe half the rhetoric that comes out of the Romney camp on what should be done about the economy, you should be happy that Obama set his sights on health care instead!

Look at what Obama did when he actually was focused on the economy. There were the auto and bank bailouts, then the $800 billion "stimulus" that ended up as mostly just a bailout for state and local governments. Then there was Cash for Clunkers. Once health care reform was done, there was Dodd-Frank, plus talk of a second stimulus that never got anywhere. And since 2010, Obama's economic plan has primarily consisted of taxing the rich and insisting the stimulus worked.

To be fair, part of that stimulus included tax cuts, and there is the payroll tax cut. I suppose it's possible that, if Obama had focused on the economy instead of health care, he would have passed more tax cuts instead of more spending, more bailouts, pushing Dodd-Frank through a few months earlier or even raising taxes. It's possible, sure, if you believe it. But the reality is, if Obama actually had focused on the economy more, we just would have seen more of the same policies that conservatives never wanted in the first place. If you believe conservative ideas are what the economy really needs to recover, you should be happy Obama got distracted by health care!

Is this a sign that Romney doesn't really believe conservative ideas are what the economy needs? Perhaps, but that's probably reading too much into it. More likely, Romney is just appealing to the old idea that government should just do something, no matter what it is, and that being seen to be doing something is more important than what you're actually doing. Romney sees an opportunity to attack Obama for looking like he didn't do enough, even though what he would have done would have made things worse. Hopefully Romney loses that old idea before he moves into the White House and starts to actually govern.

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