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When the “Pivot” Becomes a Divot

Back in June, we lamented a huge lost opportunity – idealistically seeing the Obama’s “Advanced Manufacturing Initiative” as a clean energy means to “pivot” from an austerity agenda to a green jobs agenda.

We wrote:

Again, this is a huge missed opportunity, because Obama could have really used this initiative as a way to pivot from his economic austerity (budget deficit dominated) agenda driven by Wall Street finance and Republican Teabaggers, to a major New Deal like Keynesian  jobs and domestic investment program, and political response to: 1) Depression Era unemployment; 2) huge infrastructure deficits; and 3) tremendous renewable energy opportunities.

Little did we think about the rhetorical devices we used (i.e. “pivot“).

Because now, in the wake of the deficit hostage deal, it looks like the “Obama pivot” has become all the rage!

Last week, driving the nascent beltway conventional wisdom and rhetoric, the Associated Press wrote this: Analysis: Obama pivots to new string of problems

But, as Princeton professor and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman notes, unless there is some honest reflection and fundamental change in Obama and what Krugman calls “policy elite” thinking, the much anticipated “Obama Pivot” to a jobs agenda is really looking much more like a divot.

Krugman reminds us that not only has the focus on deficit and austerity been all wrong, the emerging Obama pivot program is likely to be “symbolic” – making Obama “look ridiculous” – and not even close to the New Deal leadership and programmatic initiative that is required. Krugman wrote:

Earlier this week, the word was that the Obama administration would “pivot” to jobs now that the debt ceiling has been raised. But what that pivot would mean, as far as I can tell, was proposing some minor measures that would be more symbolic than substantive. And, at this point, that kind of proposal would just make President Obama look ridiculous.

The point is that it’s now time ” long past time” to get serious about the real crisis the economy faces. The Fed needs to stop making excuses, while the president needs to come up with real job-creation proposals. And if Republicans block those proposals, he needs to make a Harry Truman-style campaign against the do-nothing G.O.P.

This might or might not work. But we already know what isn’t working: the economic policy of the past two years” and the millions of Americans who should have jobs, but don’t.

Amen, bro.

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