No, David Frum, Our 'Enemies' Were Not Right (Update)
Faux conservative Quisling David Frum all but surrenders to former Enron adviser turned shrill liberal columnist Paul Krugman. For no apparent reason.
Think of Susan Sontag as you absorb the horrifying revised estimatesof the collapse of 2008 from the Commerce Department. Two years ago, Commerce estimated the decline of the US economy at -0.5% in the third quarter of 2008 and -3.8% in the fourth quarter. It now puts the damage at -3.7% and -8.9%: Great Depression territory.
Those estimates make intuitive sense as we assess the real-world effect of the crisis: the jobs lost, the homes foreclosed, the retirements shattered. When people tell me that I’ve changed my mind too much about too many things over the past four years, I can only point to the devastation wrought by this crisis and wonder: How closed must your thinking be if it isn’t affected by a disaster of such magnitude? And in fact, almost all of our thinking has been somehow affected: hence the drift of so many conservatives away from what used to be the mainstream market-oriented Washington Consensus toward Austrian economics and Ron Paul style hard-money libertarianism. The ground they and I used to occupy stands increasingly empty.
Well, the ground you stand on, David is empty. But it always has been. You're the "No Labels" type who refuses to actually stand for anything and see it through. While you're navel-gazing and incessantly whining about how awful everyone to your right is, David Catron catalogs what our enemies were up to:
[A]n important driver of the dismal employment situation has been the President's "signature achievement," the ironically named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The law's numerous new taxes and other disincentives for job creation, combined with the uncertainty over its ultimate fate in courts, began dragging the economy back down almost immediately after Obama signed it in March of 2010. During the first 16 months of Obama's presidency, the economy was creating jobs at a reasonably healthy rate: "Between the recession's low point in January 2009 and April 2010, net private sector job creation improved by 67,600 jobs a month." Almost immediately following passage of Obamacare, however, monthly job creation flattened to less than 10 percent of that amount.
Is the assumption that PPACA prompted this slowdown in job growth a mere causal fallacy committed by right-wingers eager to damn "reform"? Not likely. While it is true that timing doesn't necessarily imply causation, there is other evidence. Consider the case of Boston Scientific Corporation. Like all medical device manufacturers, Boston Scientific found itself on the receiving end of a large tax increase when Obamacare passed. What happens when the federal government adds to the cost of doing business for a particular industry by raising its taxes? The companies comprising that industry find a friendlier and cheaper place to do business. Boston Scientific has responded by reducing its workforce, particularly in Massachusetts, and is "investing $150 million and hiring 1,000 people in China."
There's more in the story, as ObamaCare has the entirely predictable and predicted effects it has had on jobs and health care in America. Add to that, the various bureaucratic assaults on the states through the EPA, NLRB and NMB and you have the makings of a depression that was entirely avoidable, has been pushed on the nation as a matter of administration policy, and has been cheered for at every stage by the Enron adviser Frum seems to admire.
And add to that, it was left wing policy to push the Community Reinvestment Act, which over time led to the housing meltdown, which led to the financial collapse.
In what part of this were our "enemies" on the left correct? What did they contribute, other than asinine policies that have led directly to the current mess? Are they right to say that the stimulus, which was really just a boondoggle, was too small? Are they right to push for tax hikes in a recession? Are they right to gouge defense while leaving entitlements, which are the real driver of our national debt, untouched? Were they right to defend lavish goverenment union worker benefits against even tiny changes that stood to bring state governments back from the brink of insolvency? Were they right to cheer when Democrats called the Tea Party "terrorists?"
Frum, do yourself and the world a favor and make an honest pundit of yourself -- declare yourself a Democrat and get it over with. Everyone knows that that's where you are anyway. Going D would cost you your precious cache as a "conservative who takes on other conservatives," but in coming clean you'll shed fewer tears on your pillow at night.
Update: Obviously, Frum doesn't want to deal with the real effects that ObamaCare is having right now. He also doesn't want to deal with what the Obama NLRB and EPA are collectively doing to the economy, either. No one can make him deal with them if he doesn't want to. But no one should take him seriously, either, if he won't. He prattles on about legislation but avoids entirely the fact that Obama isn't pursuing his agenda through legislation alone, but also by using the power of the regulatory state. It's through the regulatory state that Obama is meeting with his greatest policy successes. And those successes are in turn threatening and killing off American jobs.