Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Pointing out the clay feet (going as high as his hips) of Paul Stebbins

leave a comment »

Paul Krugman makes his point clearly:

Lydia DePillis has an interesting piece interviewing Paul Stebbins — a CEO who was very involved with Fix the Debt — in which Stebbins acknowledges that business is part of the problem in Washington, and proceeds to illustrate, unintentionally, just why that is. You see, if he’s any indication, big business is completely clueless about both the economics and the politics of the situation.

In the world according to Stebbins, debt and deficits are at the heart of America’s economic problem. He doesn’t even make the case — he just claims that it’s obvious according to the facts. No notion whatsoever that we might have slow growth because we’re reducing the deficit too fast; no acknowledgment that the empirical case for debt panic has collapsed. You get the sense that he’s completely unaware of the actual debates that have taken place about economic policy, probably unaware of how much the actual deficit and forecasts of future debt have changed. So he’s angry at Washington for not facing up to a fake problem.

And on the political side, it’s all false equivalence. The AARP, fighting against cuts to benefits, is just like Republicans threatening to plunge us into debt crisis if Obama doesn’t kill health reform. The Club for Growth, threatening any Republican who steps out of line, is just like … me, making fun of groups like Fix the Debt.

In short, this particular CEO comes across as completely out of touch with the reality of our economic and political situation. And then he wonders why politicians won’t listen to people like him.

The thing is, I suspect that he’s typical. Corporate America is led by men who may be very good at their jobs (or not, in some cases), but have no grasp at all of the real issues facing America as a whole — the special problems created by an economy stuck in a liquidity trap, the paralysis caused by the radicalization of the GOP. They can throw lots of money at Washington, and it’s effective at tilting policies on microeconomic issues their way. But they have no influence on the big decisions, because they don’t even understand what those big decisions are.

Written by Leisureguy

1 October 2013 at 10:56 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.