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Friday, November 02, 2012

The Hostage Takers

In an Op-Ed piece published on November 1 in the New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman calls Republicans out for their "Vote Romney Or Else" position that threatens economic chaos if the wrong candidate should win the election.

Paul Krugman: The Blackmail Caucus

I think the problem goes beyond what Krugman get at here. Let's not forget that a major reason for the economy being in the shape its in is that many captains of industry are sitting on huge piles of uninvested money - money that could be turning job-seekers (and those who have stopped actively seeking jobs) into employees, and then into consumers. But this money is being kept tied up due to "uncertainty" - mainly, the uncertainty as to whether or not Romney will become President.

I myself have made the argument that if Romney were to win the election, the economy would likely see an immediate improvement as so much capital investment that has been held back is suddenly injected into it. It is as if the economy of the nation is being held hostage, and the condition of release involves the removal of the current President.

The situation is not unlike what we faced back in 1980: Iran had been holding 52 American hostages since November 1979. In April 1980 President Jimmy Carter had made a bold decision to free the hostages through the use of a military incursion, Operation Eagle Claw. The operation failed disastrously, and blame for the failure was placed squarely on President Carter - a humiliation that likely contributed to his defeat in the Presidential election later that year.* More than that, the attempt to free the hostages by force enraged the Iranians, who resolved - despite ongoing negotiations - that the hostages would not be freed while Jimmy Carter was President.

And sure enough, word that the hostages had been released came through minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President. It was Reagan, not Carter, who received credit for their release.

So is it the same with the economy? Have the hostage takers who have been intentionally holding back the economy for the past four years resolved not to take any actions to make things better until after Barack Obama is out of office? Are they waiting to provide fuel for the engine of the economy until Willard "Mitt" Romney is President? Are we in a position where we must give in to the demands of hostage takers if we ever want this crisis to end?


*Compare to the military operation that took down Osama bin Laden, the man behind 9/11 and numerous other attacks on the United States. When this operation resulted in victory, various groups argued that President Barack Obama should receive no credit for its success.

1 comment:

zxcv0987 said...

So tired of the righties "uncertainty" mantra. Well, they can be certain now, and all some can manage as a response are childishness and vindictiveness.