December 11, 2009

COMING TO AMERICA:

How Obama Can Win Back The Public: The President should take a page from Francois Mitterand. (Peter Robinson, 12.11.09, Forbes)

When it comes right down to it, what we have in Reagan and Obama are two opposing views of reality.

Reagan cut taxes; Obama is raising them. Reagan slowed the growth of the federal government; Obama is engaging in the biggest expansion of the federal government since the Great Society.

By the time Reagan's economic program had begun to produce its effects, in the middle of 1984, the unemployment rate had dropped from a high of almost 11% to less than 8%, inflation had tumbled from double digits to 4%, the stock market had rallied and an expansion had begun that would continue, aside from two brief, shallow recessions, for the next quarter of a century. That autumn, when Reagan won reelection with 49 out of 50 states, independents voted for him for the same reason that over a quarter of Democrats did so: He got economic reality right.

The corollary here is obvious: Obama is getting economic reality wrong—obdurately, insistently, massively wrong. This is not a program for which voters will reward him.

Which brings us back to Francois Mitterand. What can the current President of the United States learn from the late President of France? Contrition.

When in 1981 he became the first socialist president of the Fifth Republic, Francois Mitterrand raised taxes, issued endless new regulations and set about nationalizing entire industries. The French economy stalled, then began to shrink. Then, in 1983, Mitterrand took a remarkable step. He admitted he had been mistaken.


Of course, Bill Clinton did the same thing in '95-'96.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 11, 2009 7:16 AM
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