Monday, August 9, 2010

Certainly Uncertain

Brad De Long weighs in on the new Republican argument of uncertainty, or the idea that Democratic policy initiatives (repealing tax cuts, heal care, cap & trade, stimulus deficit spending, etc.) are driving uncertainty in the business world, which in turn is keeping businesses from hiring.
In 2001 and 2003 George W. Bush and his Republicans created an enormous amount of uncertainty for American businesses. They deliberately unbalanced the federal budget for the long term, enacting tax cuts and spending increases, leaving businesses uncertain of who or what would be taxed in the future in order to restore eventual budgetary balance--and uncertain of whether the ultimate balancer might be another prolonged outburst of high inflation.
In 1994 the Republican Party, united behind Robert Dole and Newt Gingrich, created an enormous amount of uncertainty for American businesses by blocking the Democratic effort to bring health-insurance costs onto some sustainable trajectory. Ever since then American businesses have faced enormous uncertainty: they have no idea how expensive the health coverage they have traditionally offered will be a decade hence.
Barack Obama, in a year and a half, has taken very large steps to dissipate these sources of uncertainty, to bring the long-term budget back toward balance--so businesses no longer have to worry that they will be victims of some sudden and random confiscatory tax--and to bring health care under control--so businesses no longer have to worry that their profits will be eaten up by the health-insurance administrators.
It is a better and less uncertain long-term environment for American business than any since the 1990s, or perhaps even the 1960s.
I actually really like this new argument. I think conservatives need to just start using it for everything: I don't like gay marriage because I'm uncertain about it. I don't like Obama because I'm uncertain about him. We need to cut taxes because they cause me to feel uncertain. I don't believe in science, or academic experts, or the media. This makes me really uncertain. I don't like it. I'm not certain why, but I just don't.

1 comment:

  1. wow are you kidding me? just because you're unsure?

    ReplyDelete