When Barack Obama takes office, he’ll have to decide whether he wants to revive the economy, or pursue his policy agenda. “The two approaches are at odds,” writes Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post. Yes, Obama could say energy and health reform will improve the economy, but these initiatives will be “at best distractions,” and at worst legislative battles the US can’t afford.
Obama may want to “ape the New Deal,” but that’d be a mistake. Reforms will by their very nature “create massive uncertainties for businesses.” Some will win, but others must lose. Green investments won’t create jobs out of the ether—they’ll have to be paid for. “In normal times, his campaign agenda ought to be front and center,” Samuelson concludes. “These are not normal times.”