Thursday, January 8, 2009

2 steps forward, only 1 step back for Obama

On net, a good day in the C-J for Obama today...

Two good things:

1.) "Obama will target entitlement costs" (from the AP's Jennifer Loven)

President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that reforming massive government entitlement programs - such as Social Security and Medicare - would be "a central part" of his effort to control federal spending.

This could be quite interesting and potentially awesome-- or just noise. On the former, it would probably take a Democrat to deal with entitlements-- a version of "it takes a Nixon to go to China".

2.) "Living presidents meet in Oval Office" (from the AP's Ben Feller)

AP Photo
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Confronting a grim economy and a Middle East on fire, Barack Obama turned Wednesday to perhaps the only people on the planet who understand what he's in for: the four living members of the U.S. presidents' club.

Very cool. One of Obama's strengths is the ability to seek counsel and listen-- or if it's only a political strength, the ability to look like he's doing those things. In any case, it's a nice photo op-- and more broadly, a nice picture. The bad news: he was seeking counsel from four presidents who range from mediocre (Bush I, Clinton) to bad (Carter, Bush II).

One bad thing:

Obama warns of dire consequences without stimulus-- in a speech at George Mason University (from the AP's Jennifer Loven)

President-elect Barack Obama said Thursday the recession could "linger for years" unless Congress pumps unprecedented sums from Washington into the economy....Obama made broader arguments, too, saying that the private sector, typically the answer, cannot do what is needed now. "At this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe," he said.

Uhhh, it could also linger for months if Congress and Obama keep their hands off of the economy. And it could linger for years if Congress and Obama continue Bush-style intervention. Those are far more probable scenarios than the one painted by Obama. Hopefully, they'll eschew intervention or get to it so slowly that the market has already adjusted.


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