A Gross Misunderstanding

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 02:55 PM

Karol Markowicz

Daniel Gross, writing in New York Magazine, can't understand the Republican outrage over Ben Bernanke's latest tinkering with the economic markets. After all, Gross notes, Bernanke is himself a Republican! Oh, well then, we Republicans were not aware of that. Of course we'll all sit quietly now! As Sarah Palin said about John McCain: "You don't have to fall in love. You just have to fall in line." Oh wait, that wasn't a Republican leader. That was Hilary Clinton explaining to Democrats that you just pull the (D) lever for John Kerry in 2004 and keep your mouth shut.

If the election of 2010 was about anything for conservatives, it was about the related concepts that winning isn't everything (see Delaware) and being a Republican was not enough to be supported (see Alaska and Utah). Democrats continue not to get this because they're so wrapped up in the narrative that we get our talking points from Karl Rove, Fox News and the RNC. We're just not as top-down as Democrats would like to believe. In fact, it's often bloggers and smaller conservative writers pushing the stories that make it onto Fox News, or introducing candidates supported by the RNC and Karl Rove.

Republicans are up in arms about Bernanke's policies not because we've "turned" on Bernanke, or for any deep sinister reason, but because his policies have not worked. It's not hypocrisy to change your position, especially on something as important as monetary policy; it's learning and adjusting to reality. Democrats remember reality, don't they? Didn't they once call themselves the reality-based community? Now would be good time for a reality check. To show how out of touch Gross is, note this paragraph:

After Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announced on November 3 that the central bank would buy $600 billion in government bonds in an effort to lower interest rates and boost the job market, Sarah Palin pounced. “All this pump priming will come at a serious price,” said the bearish Mama Grizzly. The efforts would have inflationary effects. (Now we have to pay attention to what Sarah Palin says about monetary policy?)

Personally, despite being a fan of Sarah, I wasn't paying attention to her monetary policy until I read this article. What's with liberal obsession, and repulsion at their own obsession, with Sarah Palin? If you don't want people to pay attention to her, stop writing non-stop about her. Gross continues on the topic of Republican "hypocrisy":

It goes on. Maverick senator John McCain favors immigration reform and cap-and-trade—unless a Democrat is in the White House. Senators filibustering and slow-walking judicial appointments is reprehensible—well, unless. To former Massachusetts governor and likely presidential candidate Mitt Romney, an individual health-care mandate is a legislative achievement—unless. At which point it becomes an assault on freedom.

So what he's saying is that presidential candidates sometimes backtrack on unpopular positions and legislation from their pasts? And when they're no longer candidates they can be their true selves? Incredible! You know who is missing from this list, though? Everyone's favorite losing presidential candidate Al Gore, who recently reversed years of support for ethanol subsidies, presumably because he never plans to run for president again and can now safely stop caring about Iowa. It's not really a newsflash that candidates lie about their real, true stance on issues to get elected. How many people really believe Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton oppose gay marriage? And yet, both vocally oppose it for political gain. Again, if we are to list hypocrisy by candidates we'll be here till Christmas, and we could fill that time only focusing on John "flip-flop" Kerry.

To get back to monetary policy, though, a great, must-see video has been circulating around the internet that really sums up the problems with Ben Bernanke and our current policies. Yes, it's a cartoon, so of course the issues involved are simplified, but the overall point remains true. We got into our current mess with a lot of government tinkering and government tinkering is not going to get us out. Lower taxes, lower spending and the type of fiscal conservatism expounded by the base (as opposed to leaders who say what they have to to win elections) is what will work long term. No quick fix by "the Ben Bernanke" will.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.


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Comments [7]

Marcello from Brooklyn

Actually, I believe the reason you lost in 2008 is that, given almost a decade of free rein, you conservatives screwed things up so badly that even the notoriously moronic and apathetic American electorate was forced to notice.
That same electorate that in 2010 was feeling "angry" about joblessness and so voted for the party that opposed the stimulus bill and unemployment benefits.
The electorate that was so "frustrated by govt. inaction" that it threw itself behind the party who obstructed any political initiative coming out of Congress.
The electorate that "worried so much about govt. deficit" and so switched to the party that not only transformed the Clinton-era surpluses into and ocean of debt but that is now pushing for inflating that very same budget deficit with permanent tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of the population. So much for the "new crop".
In the end, nobody really knows whether or not Quantitative Easing is going to work or is going to make things worse (although it is very funny to see a whole lot of people confidently pontificating about it...). I am sure that nobody, the Feds included, feels great about creating additional debt but the severity of the remedy is only the measure of the severity of the crisis resulting from approximately a decade of GOP rules and conservative policies.

Dec. 02 2010 10:28 AM
Karol from NYC

"Can you blame me if I see the GOP as a party of 'Do as I say, not as I do'."

No, that's totally fair. And it's a big part of why we lost in '08. But the new crop of Republicans are promising to stay true to fiscal conservative philosophy. We'll see. I'm hopeful they've learned from the mistakes of the previous generation.

Nov. 28 2010 03:34 PM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

FY 2000 the Fed government was in surplus. Then the GP brought on two wars, a tax cut, $400B prescription drug program without raising revenue or significantly cutting expenses elsewhere. Eight years of deficit spending that went on more or less without a wimper. To top it all, the financial system nearly collapses - $800B to bail that out - and another $800B stimulus program required to keep the economy out of depression. Can you blame me if I see the GOP as a party of 'Do as I say, not as I do'.

Since 1968, middle class wages have kept track (barely) with inflation while the economy grew another $9T over inflation. That money went into the pockets of folks who don't use their wealth to support the government. You want to fix the deficit. Figure out a way to get more dough into the pockets of the bottom 4 quintiles.

Nov. 28 2010 09:52 AM

I'm a liberal but I agree with Hawkins: Bill if you have nothing cogent to say, best say nothing, eh?

Nov. 24 2010 04:11 PM
Conservative Hawkins from NYC

Unable to form a cogent argument as to why he disagrees with Mrs. Markowicz's commentary, Bill decides to call her insane. While he's at it, might as well indict every other Republican in the country as well.

Thanks Bill. Good stuff.

Nov. 24 2010 03:58 PM

In my opinion the only people who should be upset about QE2 are the Chinese government.

That said, Dan Gross is a hack with delusions of being an economist.

Nov. 24 2010 03:55 PM

Are ALL Republicans certifiably insane?

It appears so to the rest of the country.

This essay simply confirms that notion.

Nov. 24 2010 03:37 PM

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