Though Matthew Yglesias is known for being a liberal commentator its nice to see he can take issue with President Obama, granted most of his complaints are still directed at Mitt Romney. As far as what he thinks are bad ideas goes all but one of the one’s he listed are very strong.
1. Yglesias is right to call out the claim that relying on other sources will cheapen the price of our energy however there is something to be said for focusing on local sources. Mexico and Canada are our neighbors, meaning if we get our oil from then it will be at a cheaper transportation cost. In addition there are security reasons as well to consider given that Mexico and Canada are relatively more stable and closer to us internationally than the middle east. However the ideal of energy independence will do nothing to lower costs so long as really its goal will only restructure where we get it from which may not be such a bad thing.
2. In his only real attack on Obama Yglesias points out Obama is a bit too focused on manufacturing jobs. This is fair point in my view. When we live in a global economy we need to focus on what we have the advantage in and we just don’t have the same kind of one we used to have in manufacturing. We need to focus on the industries we do have a(what economists call) comparative advantage rather than just idealize the old days when we were the largest manufacturer of good’s in the world.
3. I find Yglesias’s critique to be very weak in this case. There are certainly ways to show documentation for migrants and this policy may even benefit the undocumented workers by preventing them from being hired by a company that would exploit them. True this does mean that they won’t get the job, however they really should not be getting it in this in this case. Furthermore this is unlikely to inhibit job growth in the big picture. Also his source is on the rise pay for workers is wrong since it show’s a rise for high skilled workers while the wages of low skilled ones were lowered.
4. I have mixed feelings on this point. Romney’s cut will certainly provide incentive due to some business owners deciding to use their new money to invest in more workers unlike what Yglesias says. However it may not guarantee that all of these owners will choose to invest in more workers and the cut itself may not affect business owners necessarily. Yglesias’s proposal for a sales tax cut is much more likely to spark that growth because it increases profits for businesses and is targeted directly at them.
5. Again I would agree with Yglesias, protectionism is never the answer in hard economic times and this tax raise proposal(which as Yglesias says is a tariff in truth) would almost certainly sour our relationship with China as well as reduce our consumption and that’s a best case scenario. China would almost certainly retaliate and our export industries would certainly suffer in the end. The economy is still very volatile and protectionism has been proven to cause backslides before.
Overall Yglesias is a talented writer. It is certainly true that he is a strong liberal granted but he’s also more nuanced than the average pundit. This may not be one of his better pieces but the quality of it is still top notch. As far as writers go whether you like him or not he certainly has a bright future in the world of journalism.