Setting the Week: Palin, Perry, and the Prospect of Austerity

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks at a Tea Party Express rally on September 5, 2011 at Veteran's Memorial Park in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Getty)

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on The Brian Lehrer Show, David Dayen, writer at, joined public relations consultant, blogger at Alarming News, and contributor to It's A Free Country Karol Markowicz to talk about the latest political news.

Closer to a Palin run?

The holiday weekend saw President Obama speaking to organized labor, Republican candidates answering to Sen. Jim DeMint, and Sarah Palin doing everything a presidential hopeful does besides show up to a debate.

There's been speculation about a Palin run for the White House ever since the 2008 elections. As she tours the country on her freedom bus giving speeches and stealing spotlights along the way, the media follows, desperate for her to define her intentions. It's a Free Country's own conservative blogger Karol Markowicz recently penned a defense of Palin's attention-getting ways, but she thinks the former governor will ultimately forego the race.

As soon as she runs she becomes a target for everyone, including Republicans in the primary field. She has too much power and she's making so much money that I don't see her running.

Perry and the 'Pawlenty position'

Turning to those who are running for president, both Markowicz and David Dayen agreed that Rick Perry was the one to beat. Unfortunately for his supporters and debate junkies on both sides of the aisle, wildfires in Texas have taken the governor away from participating in yesterday's forum in South Carolina, and possibly tomorrow's more formal debate.

It may be unfortunate for the rest of the candidates too. Dayen cited Tim Pawlenty's failure to go after Mitt Romney earlier this year; he missed too many opportunities to bash the front-runner. Now that Perry has jumped into the lead, Romney needs to do what Pawlenty couldn't.

Not having Perry on the stage will probably hurt everybody else. There will not be that target to shoot for. It's not necessarily about whether Perry is going to go on attack, but whether anyone else will go on attack against Perry. Mitt Romney is in the Pawlenty position right now.

Austerity narratives

As for the substance of these speeches and debates, the focus is on jobs and the economy. Deeper spending cuts? More public investment? Higher taxes? No taxes? What's a country to do.

Both bloggers looked to European nations as cautionary tales. David Dayen said that austerity measures across the pond did more to kill recoveries than aid them.

They've gone through these austerity programs, they've massively cut spending—even if they've raised taxes in those austerity programs, they've led to practically zero growth. It's pretty clear empirically from the data that when you cut spending in the middle of a jobs crisis, in the downturn, in the middle of a demand crisis, you're going to reduce demand that much more and end up hurting your economy in the process.

But Karol Markowicz saw a different culprit for the calamity.

The problem with Europe is because they raised taxes, not because they cut spending during these times. When you raise taxes you reduce the amount of money people are taking home, you reduce the amount they're spending and you hurt economy even more.


David Dayen and Karol Markowicz


More in:

Comments [12]

Joe B

Re: Sarah Palin's screechy sound bite. Obama didn't bail out the banks and Auto industry. Bush did.

Why doesn't anyone ever catch that? It's so elementary.

Sep. 06 2011 08:36 PM
spnyc from Upper Manhattan, NYC

Single parent of lively 6 year old, out of work or underemployed for 2+ years: spent labor day weekend holding my breath with just $50 to my name after paying rent on 9/1. Thought I'd get paid today (couldn't afford any more camp and had to take my daughter to my temp job last week--too difficult, only worked 12 hours), turns out due to the holiday pay day is tomorrow, so now I have $22 to my name. School goes back Thursday, so I can't work until then, and the afterschool program doesn't start until 9/19, so I'll be on a reduced work schedule and paycheck for a couple of weeks. Cannot buy school supplies until I get paid this week. Cannot afford the subway fare to get to welfare office to apply for emergency foodstamps. Agh, great way to end the summer. Turn 49 in a month and am wondering if I'll ever have a regular job ever again.

Sep. 06 2011 10:33 AM
Drew from Williamsburg

If these conservatives are going to continue to insist on tax cuts then please please please ask them why the past 12 years of tax cuts hasn't created an unprecedented proliferation of jobs (or any real job growth at all). Ask why, when the wealthy, businesses and banks are sitting on trillions of dollars, there aren't more jobs being created. Ask why, if as the Republicans insist, businesses aren't creating jobs because of "uncertainty", the Republicans injected even more uncertainty into the economy for the entire summer resulting in 0 net jobs for August. Their actions belie their claims. Their arguments don't correlate with reality. I would hope that at least on WNYC someone would put some of these questions and insist on real answers.

Sep. 06 2011 10:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The harsh truth is, nobody can do anything because Ronald Reagan's liberating over 3 billion people from Communist and Socialist slavery, and the subsequent rise of Asia and even Latin America has caused massive tectonic shifts and a huge economic Tsunami that has swept over the West and stalled the economic growth of both the US and the EU. You can't blame the Chinese, INdiians, or Brazilians from wanting to become rich too! And we have lagged in properly responding to this period of massive global economic change. Not that there is a whole lot we can do about it. It's going to run its course like hurricane Irene.

Sep. 06 2011 10:30 AM
Juli from Skillman, NJ

What annoys me is when I speak to people and they are so lacking in understanding about jobs being created versus not and the unemployment rate and just macroeconomic issues in general. They don't understand GDP consumer ability of the mass populous. The GOP seem to be really appealing to those with a very simplified understanding of what is happening. But, basically, with all that people complain about Obama's spending, our GDP has been improving slowly, but surely. Jobs are also being created also quite slowly. Once the Republicans took over the House of Rep, growth seemed to diminish. They are not looking to create jobs; they are looking to send us back to recession and then blame Obama. It's frustrating.

Sep. 06 2011 10:27 AM
Tiesha from Brooklyn

how many more years will they say now is not the time to worry about spending?! When we need to buy bread with a wheelbarrow.

Sep. 06 2011 10:26 AM
The Truth from Becky

Until a poll arrives at my door, I DON'T rely on polls! Neither should you!

Sep. 06 2011 10:23 AM
The Truth from Becky

I approve of the job the President has done this past term and I do intend to vote for him again in 2012.

Sep. 06 2011 10:22 AM
adrienne from Upper West Side

I work at CUNY and for the first time in my life I am a member of a union. was a strong supporter on Obama in 08, and will support and vote for him again but is our country governable at all? I really worry about the US. As for Obama, you can't always make nice with people that dispise you, obviously republicans have become a really hateful group, we can't "dialogue" with them. Let's have some honesty here.

Sep. 06 2011 10:21 AM
BK from Hoboken

Recent analysis of Texas job creation (was either Time or Business Week both of which I receive at home) showed that Perry created more government jobs than private sector jobs. But let's not let facts get in the way of a "debate" coming up.

Sep. 06 2011 10:20 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I wrote a letter to President Obama yesterday regarding budget issues and it's going out in today's mail. My four major points regarding the budget are these:

1. Stop outsourcing jobs. If our money leaves the country that way, and if there are fewer jobs for Americans because of outsourcing, our economy will never recover.

2. Scrap the IRC and completely redo it. It is a bizarre document and completely unfair in the way it determines how much tax various earning levels should pay.

3. Reduce the ENTIRE federal budget by 1%. That includes every department, the military, congressional salaries, everything. People can handle a 1% cut because it is so small, but its cumulative effect at the other end would be rather huge.

4. Institute a 1% federal sales tax on everything except food, medicine and certain medical devices. It's small enough for most people not to feel the pinch, but would generate plenty of income.

I also believe it is quite foolish to blame the President for all the ills of this country. He walked into a massive deficit created by his predecessor and has been opposed by the Republican/Conservative movement from day one in every way.

May Heaven help all of us should the likes of Palin, Perry, Bachmann or any of the "Tea Party" candidates win a presidential election.

Sep. 06 2011 10:19 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

Too bad President Obama doesn't sound so feisty when dialoging--sorry I mean capitulating to--with the Republicans.

I remember him being very quiet during the Wisconsin demonstrations.

Sep. 06 2011 10:14 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About It's A Free Country ®

Archive of It's A Free Country articles and posts. Visit the It's A Free Country Home Page for lots more.

Supported by

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public.  Learn more at


Supported by