President Barack Obama could be wrong about how to fix the nation's sluggish economy, but his approach is not radical.
The Obama approach — stymied since Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in January 2010 — is to increase federal spending to spark consumer demand.
The mainstream economists who recommend such stimulus spending are not oblivious to the impact on the deficit. They are, rather, cognizant of the more dramatic affect on the deficit that comes with sustained periods of sluggish demand. An ailing economy reduces tax revenue. Reduced tax revenue increases the deficit.
What's puzzling is not that some disagree with Obama's economic approach, but that they do so with such vitriol. They brand as radical a conventional approach that has worked in the past.
If Obama's effort to counter a recession with increased spending is wrong, he at least joins an impressive list of leaders who made the same mistake. Those leaders include presidents Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and George W. Bush.
Responding to a recession with austerity measures is radical. Responding with deficit spending is not.
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