Running to the Side of the Economy

Chris Cillizza recently raised an important question: “What if the 2012 election doesn’t change anything?” He pointed to pollings indicating that most Americans, especially independents, don’t believe that the economy would be any different if another party controlled the White House. This brought me back to my earlier question: “What if the government can’t fix this economy?” Apparently there are a lot of people out there willing to concede the point. If neither party’s candidates can fix the economy, then (short the sudden emergency of an effective third party) by definition the government can’t fix the economy.

Right now most candidates are running on some form of the “It’s the economy, stupid!” mantra of the 1992 Clinton campaign. But I’d be curious to hear about any running on an “What about everything else?” theme. In other words, if neither party can motivate the middle by trumpeting their economic platform, is someone willing to take the risk of trying to court them largely on some other grounds? The pitch would be along the lines of “The economy is bad and we’ll do all we can to fix it. But those government promises of jobs are empty, so let’s talk about what government really can do to make this nation better.” Republicans used to do this to a greater extent by talking about values (which I didn’t always prioritize in the same way).  But the current crop of presidential candidates each seem to think there’s a magic wand for fixing the economy hiding in a drawer of the Oval Office. If only we would elect so they could get that wand they would wave it with such gusto!

No candidate can run against the economy, but I’d like to see one running to the side of the economy.

One Response to Running to the Side of the Economy
  1. kaahl
    November 2, 2011 | 6:28 pm

    it seems almost laughable that an administration gets credit or blame for good or bad economies. government definitely influences the economy over the long run, but a lot of economic activity seems sort of like calculus–it was invented twice by liebniz and newton not because there were two geniuses who discovered the same almost unfathomable concept, but because it was an idea whose time had come.

    i have nothing to support this, but i feel like activity by an administration can produce bubbles or burst bubbles, but long-term economic growth seems to be a result of the efforts of millions.