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There is no left-wing politics in the United States

January 26, 2010

Exhibit 3,427: this happened last night.

I was not really mentally prepared to watch Jared Bernstein, former senior economist at the progressive Economic Policy Institute, defend the idea of a spending freeze in the middle of a recession, but this debate between him and Rachel Maddow is worth watching for the administration’s justification of this move. Maddow doesn’t give an inch but gives Bernstein a chance to make his case.

While my initial reaction was pretty extreme (something like Paul Krugman’s), if the administration defense is right, this may not actually mean all that much in a real economic sense, and might just be a move to try to gain support among the general populace that has bought into the frame that excessive government spending is the biggest problem we face economically.

That’s appalling in and of itself, of course. The left has spent its entire existence fighting against the misguided notion that government is bad. That the Obama administration is now feeding this narrative (in a knee-jerk panic reaction to a bad election result) is massively disappointing. Even if this is all words and no real meaningful action, the words matter.

For more, Andrew Sullivan has a nice summary of the range of blogger reactions.

Flying Whale

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