The New York Times Editors on how the Debt Limit Crisis is Just the Beginning. "Brinkmanship over the debt limit is only one of many epic economic policy blunders now in the making," writes the New York Times. "Even if lawmakers raise the debt limit on time, the economy is weak and getting weaker, as evidenced by slowing growth and rising unemployment." But Republicans, rather than focusing on strengthening the weakening economy, are "demanding deep, immediate spending cuts, which would only add to current weakness." Although President Obama has "suggested cuts" that "should be phased in slowly," and suggested "near-term help," he has "has done too little to argue the case." It seems he should be noting that "Upfront spending cuts could make sense if the budget deficit were the cause of the current economic weakness." Here, however, the "real cause is lack of consumer demand in the face of stagnant wages, job uncertainty and the continuing payback of household debt from the bubble years... In such a situation, government must fill the gap with spending on relief and recovery measures." One crucial step "would be to reauthorize the highway trust fund... supporting millions of jobs." If anything, "Mr. Bernanke emphasized that the deficit was a serious problem, but not an immediate one... Recovery, however, requires the creation of millions more jobs, starting now."
Thomas Fleming on What Michele Bachmann Should Have Said on Slavery. Thomas Fleming notes that in Michele Bachmann's latest history gaffe, she insisted that America's Founding Fathers "worked day and night" to abolish slavery -- but only identified John Quincy Adams as an actor (who was 9 years old in 1776 when his father persuaded the Continental Congress to vote for independence.) Fleming notes that the founding father were, to the dismay of "many admirers of our revolutionary past," not preoccupied with slavery. "The barely breathing American union remained the Founders' primary concern... the delegates achieved a political miracle—a document that gave the federal government the power to tax at home and speak for the nation abroad while reserving important rights and responsibilities to the states. Then, with success seemingly assured, the delegates plunged into an ugly brawl over slavery." The compromise reached "proposed permitting the slave trade until 1808, and counting three-fifths of a state's slaves as a basis for the number of its representatives in Congress." Although Ben Franklin shortly afterwards proposed banning slavery, and much of the country "became more and more hostile to tolerating slavery on American soil," in the South, slavery became "so immensely profitable for Southern plantation owners that it became entrenched in their way of life."