Voters are likely to remain dubious about candidates who offer only vague platitudes about key issues like jobs, wages, and trade without making firm commitments or offering specific proposals. The Maryland race has just begun, of course. But so far, it seems to point to the pitfalls of corporate "centrism" -- and the promise of economic populism.
The "sequester" -- mindless, across-the-board spending cuts designed purposefully to be abhorrent to both political parties -- now seems likely to go into effect on March 1. The sequester cuts added to spending cuts and tax increases already scheduled will slow growth and cost jobs. Government austerity has already contributed to the worst recovery in post-World War II history. Why would the U.S. repeat this folly, despite warnings from the IMF and Federal Reserve officials? Every calamity has many authors -- Obama's premature turn to deficit reduction in 2009, the Tea Party zealots, a hapless and clueless Republican congressional leadership and more. One major contribution comes from the money and monomania of Pete Peterson, a Wall Street billionaire who has committed about half a billion bucks rousing hysteria about deficits and debt.