In the Arena


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A fair number of people, including some editors I know, are amazed that Barack Obama is actually trying to do what he said he would do during the campaign. And, I must admit, I wasn’t convinced he would go all the way with programs like cap-and-trade limitations on carbon emissions. But he is. And, I suspect, the public is ready for it.

Republicans, stunned that what passed for conventional wisdom for thirty years is no longer operative, are still attempting arguments like this one:

“The risks are too much too soon, and piling on, and triggering class warfare,” said Kenneth Khachigian, a former aide to Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

In truth, class warfare is what the Reagan Era gave us: thirty years of tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of the common weal, thirty years of lax regulations which enabled the bankers to strip-mine the savings of average Americans while reaping huge rewards in Ponzi schemes, like the micro-dividing of mortgage assets that were really debits. Once again, I’m not sure Obama’s proposals will work–some will surely be more successful than others, there’s a good chance that rather than being too bold, he isn’t being bold enough–but I am absolutely certain where the continuation, or augmentation, of Reagan-Bush policies would leave us: even worse off than we are now.

Update: E.J. Dionne has more on this theme, laying out the real stakes of the game.