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Sunday, June 5, 2011

The New Republic: Opinion-William Galston- What Can President Obama and Congressional Democrats do About The Bad Economy?

44th President of The United States-
This piece was originally posted at FRS FreeState Plus

During the 2012 general elections both presidential and Congressional, Democrats won’t be judged or blamed for the condition of the economy, when they won complete control of the Federal Government in 2008. At least by Independent voters. They’ll be judged by what they’ve done since. Especially the President and the job he’s done with what most people would say was a bad hand when President Obama took over in 2009. House Republicans will be judged by what they did since they’ve won control of the House in 2010. So what the White House and Congressional Democrats will have to do to win back complete control of the Federal Government in 2012, or at least retain the White House and Senate, is to show they’re ready to govern again.

Democrats need to show American voters especially Independent voters, that the country is in better shape in 2012, than it was in 2008 when they took over. It’s really that simple. The Republican opposition might not have much to do whether Democrats win back complete control or at least retain what they have. Other than to communicate their message. If Independent voters feel the country is better off now, than Democrats will win back or retain power. If Independent voters feel the country is worse off in 2012 than 2008, then we are probably looking at a Republican White House and Congress going into 2013.

So especially with the bad jobs report Friday, with another increase in the unemployment rate of now 9.1% and only roughly 60,000 jobs created in the private sector. What democrats have to do is to communicate an economic message that tells the country, “we know the economy is bad and we have a plan to address it that will create economic and job growth. That will bring the unemployment rate down to a more acceptable level.” Even if they have no shot at passing that through the GOP lead House. But at least have something that they can take on the campaign trail in the 2012 general elections.

Democrats should say, “look, we have an economic agenda here. We tried to pass it out of the Senate, but the Senate GOP Leadership blocked it. Which is why you should reelect us there and gives us more seats in the Senate. But besides the House GOP would never pass it anyway.” And take that to the country. Unfortunately there’s not much the Federal Government can do right now. The Federal Reserve has brought interest rates down as far as they can go. So the options are limited, but I believe good and good enough. But I believe an economic agenda that’s built around infrastructure, energy, trade and education, is the way forward for Democrats.

Especially as the GOP will focus on more tax cuts, deregulation and deficit reduction. Democrats should have an economic agenda that’s about infrastructure investment, the Core of Engineers says we need around 500B$ of infrastructure repairs. Something like a National Infrastructure Bank that would pay for itself. Would take care of this and put hundreds of thousands of people back to work. energy a national energy policy that moves us towards energy independence and off of foreign oil. By promoting our own vast natural resources. More foreign trade that gets our products sold in foreign countries and brings down our trade deficit. That has trade adjustment assistance for people who lose their jobs as a result. So they can go back to work.

And finally last but never least, education reform that’s built around public school choice and rewarding teachers for their quality of service, not time of service. I believe with rising unemployment with weak economic and job growth, the strategy of no, saying no to whatever the House GOP comes up will run dry. At some point before the 2012 general elections, Democrats especially the President, are going to have to develop their own agenda. Because they are on the hook for what’s gone on the last four years for good or bad. And will be held accountable for it. The issue that House Republicans will be facing in 2012 as well is that they’re the incumbent party in the House of Representatives. And will also be judged by what they’ve done in the last two years as well. So both parties, have incentives to show they can lead the country. And give voters reasons to vote for them.