3.26.2010

What's The Deal?

Is Barack Obama on the cusp of announcing his "New Deal" for the Great Recession?

I ask, seriously, after seeing this story today in the NYT:

The Obama administration on Friday will announce broad new initiatives to help troubled homeowners, potentially refinancing several million of them into fresh government-backed mortgages with lower payments.

Combined with the headiness that has accompanied a win on the health care bill (I encourage gloaters on facebook to keep it up - you're only further entrenching your opposition), along with numerous other federal measures over the past two years, I have to wonder if Obama now sees this as his moment to throw the kitchen sink. Go all in "for the American people." Deficits be damned. Let's roll out some new programs to appear to help in the here and now.

At this point, functionally, I think he and his team realizes he could make such a move - throw in the stimulus, the stimulus' change in food stamp rules (ht AD), cash for clunkers, health care, the jobs bill, housing relief, etc. His actions, regardless of his words and regardless of the GOP record in the Bush years, have shown he's willing to spend almost without limit. He could announce a broad reaching effort along the public relations lines of the New Deal. But I think, at least for the time being, even if the federal government continues to roll out programs, he's going to avoid labeling the efforts he could try to claim as his own under some umbrella term - largely because I think he fears the consequences of failure in the wake of "Mission Accomplished" and "The War on Terror."

It's also in keeping with Democratic and Progressive traditions:

Late Teddy Roosevelt - Square Deal
FDR - New Deal
Truman - Fair Deal
Johnson - The Great Society

Carter's malaise and Clinton's centrism in good economic times aren't up to the task of the times at present.

Whether President Obama himself coins the term or someone from his administration or the media/chattering classes does, it's coming, I think. A Deal with a capital D of some sort, an entry for the history books.