So much for “pay as you go” budgeting in Washington, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. “Democrats ran on ‘paygo’ in 2006,” promising to offset spending increases with spending cuts elsewhere, or tax hikes. Now, “with the recession as an excuse for just about anything,” Democrats are promising President-elect Barack Obama they won’t tie his hands with anything as annoying as fiscal responsibility.
Voters just gave Obama permission to move away from conservative policies, said E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post, the same way they gave Ronald Reagan the OK to abandon liberal strategies. So, like Reagan, Obama should “not be afraid to be audacious” as he pushes for health care, energy, tax reform, and education policies to help the middle class.
Obama says the nation needs another stimulus package now, said Amity Shlaes in the New York Post. Call it a “pre-Christmas bonus.” That, along with all the Democrats’ talk of spending on roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, sounds like Obama has in mind a modern version of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The trouble is, “the economy never quite recovered” under Roosevelt.
Right, so Obama has to be more bold than FDR, said Paul Krugman in The New York Times. The New Deal had long-range success—bank-deposit insurance and Social Security have insulated Americans from financial hardship for decades. But Roosevelt's public works spending was an “inadequate response to the Great Depression.” If Obama hopes to deliver an economic recovery, he should “err on the side of too much stimulus” rather than too little.