Thursday, December 11, 2008

Presidents and the economy

One of the obstacles to accountability in politics is the adamant refusal of some pundits and academics to admit that politics has something to do with policy, and policy has consequences.

The increasing concern with income inequality has combined with the recognition that Democrats and Republicans are on opposite sides of a whole variety of issues that touch on income growth and stability. Duh.

But, progress in accepting reality runs up against strong prejudice in the form of what Andrew Gelman calls: "the general sense that presidents don't have much control over the economy"

\Gelman reflects on his own attitudes: "in 2006, I wrote, 'since 2000, we've returned to the general attitude that both parties have essential competence but have different goals. . . . we're used to thinking of presidents as fairly powerless surfers on the global economy, able to tinker with tax rates but not much more. . .' Things sure have changed in 2 1/2 years!"

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