Time for a Real Economic Debate

Time for a Real Economic Debate

Fifteen million Americans are unemployed. Poverty is up. One in four homes is under water. It’s time for a serious debate on the nation’s economic direction.


Editor’s Note: Each week we repost an excerpt of Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column on the WashingtonPost.com.

Will the 2010 election campaign provide us with a debate worthy of a great nation in trouble? The early harbingers aren’t good. The pundit herd has already declared the election over, with only the scope of the Democratic reverses yet in question. The two parties are gearing up for a fierce debate on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts to everyone including the wealthiest 2 percent or merely to everyone except the very rich.

We can’t afford this partisan posturing. Fifteen million Americans are unemployed. Poverty is up. One in four homes is under water, worth less than what is owed on it. Voters deserve a serious debate about what is to be done. And what are the choices that the two parties present?

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the perpetually tanned Republican leader, has laid out the Republican plan: Keep tax rates where they are and cut $100 billion in spending next year. This can only add rubble to the ruins.

Beyond that, Republicans have no common plan other than obstruction. Their default position is defined by the special interests that have long dominated Washington. As former Bush speech writer David Frum noted, "Republicans have done insufficient serious policy work over the past half-dozen years. The legacy of this inactivity is a party on the brink of power, lacking an intellectual framework for the use of that power."

To read Katrina’s full column, go to the WashingtonPost.com.

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