I haven’t read everything that Ezra Klein has ever written but I still feel comfortable saying that this is the best thing he has ever written. It’s long. It’s really, really long. But it’s long because the subject matter demands it. It also confirms for me what I concluded about six months ago. The Bush administration screwed up our economy so badly that it wasn’t possible to fix it. The hole that they created was so big that it was not politically possible to fill it. The Obama administration should have asked for a substantially bigger stimulus bill, but it wouldn’t have mattered even if they’d succeeded in getting one, which they wouldn’t have. The hole in the economy was so large that even if the administration had known how big it was, they couldn’t have devised a way to spend enough money to fix it. Klein is right. With better information, things could have been done better and our current situation would be modestly improved, but the damage was really so severe that there was no escaping a prolonged period of pain.
The sad thing is that we could fix our problems and Europe could fix theirs. We could all fix this if the solutions weren’t so easy to demagogue. But they are.