Josh Barro at the DNC

by Reihan Salam

Josh Barro is covering the Democratic National Convention for Bloomberg View, and his dispatches have been notably smart. Among other things, he has written on how Michelle Obama sought to amplify Barack Obama’s Americanness during her well-received speech, the extent to which San Antonio Mayor Julian Casto’s keynote address focused on the Bush era rather than the Obama era, and on the president’s broader case for reelection. I found the last post particularly enjoyable, as it closely corresponds to my own ideological priors; in it, Josh makes a few observations:

(1) while the U.S. has had a stronger recovery than the European economies, all of which have been badly undermined by the ongoing Eurozone crisis, the U.S. has not fared well relative to Canada, Israel, and Australia (and incidentally, Israel and Australia are both countries often cited by advocates of NGDP level targeting as having embraced a somewhat similar approach in practice);

(2) though Congress has indeed been resistant to the president’s calls for more spending-driven fiscal stimulus, the Obama administration didn’t do enough on monetary policy and housing policy;

(3) and there is reason to believe that President Obama is “unusually bad at working with a hostile, dysfunctional legislature,” in contrast to Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York state, who has managed to negotiate more or less successfully with the Republican majority in the New York State Senate and, more importantly, hostile interest groups from within his own coalition.