I have been thinking more about the recent spate of liberal articles blaming Obama for Trump. Including Paul Krugman. The argument goes that Obama failed to enact a second stimulus, using a belt-tightening argument which is spun as support for "austerity".
its true that a bigger stimulus would have brought the economy closer to full employment, faster. Trump's massive tax cut (a stimulus) has proved that.
However I have serious problems with the "its Obama's fault". analysis, both economically and politically. On the economic side, I think it is highly debatable whether a second stimulus was a better choice than the investment in expanded medicaid and Obamacare's struggle to advance universal health coverage. Especially if the realpolitik choice was one or the other, not both. I do not see, nor recall, any evidence that "both" were enactable.
When I evaluate "better" I try to do so from the standpoint of working people, especially the uninsured and underinsured, which amounted to over half of wage earners when Obama took office. A second stimulus, as the tax cut shows, would have got us to where we are now, employment-wise, but still doing next to nothing, just spit, about income inequality.
At the same time, I have personal experience about the lives and life savings of low wage families that expanded Medicaid has saved. And if Medicare for All has any chance in the future, it will owe a lot to both the wins, and shortcomings of Obamacare, which are now part of the US experience, not just an ideological dispute. I
t's also worth noting a feature/defect of Keynesian economics. Fiscal and monetary policy can counter (over time) the employment losses from recession or depression. But it is agnostic and indifferent to the inequality problem. For example, If all the new jobs are minimum.low wage, as most have been, Keynesian economics theory does not object.
On the political side, I do not believe Obama's pivot to health care was motivated by support for "austerity". Even with all the concessions (the public option, etc), the bill only passed with Democratic votes. Not a single Republican. So, the concessions denounced by the Fake Left, and now some liberals, were made just to keep all the Dems in line.
Further, the R blockade against Obama began immediately after the first stimulus -- which the moron Rs only supported because Bush did. The Fake Left of course asserts both the stimulus and single payer health care could just be 'commanded'. Any other outcome "must" be a result of a "neo-liberal" conspiracy.
Relationships of forces never have much impact on the anarchist (however manifest) mentality. But in real politics they are more than half of EVERY decision.
No "austerity" pol I know of ever worked to bring health care to low wage families -- ever.
I submit going after Obama hunting for the causes of Trump is a fool's errand, and, like some of the anti-globalization fetishes on the left, fertile sucker bait for the fascists and racists. Both the blockades against Obama reforms, and the rise of Trump, reflect, IMO, nothing less than --- a serious decay and unravelling of US capitalism in its current form. Its out of control. It paralyzing the political process. It's aggravated conflicts and contradictions are undermining civil society and democracy in nearly every dimension.
As Bernie Sanders has said: Its not really about the President -- the whole people, in multitudes, in its overwhelming majority, must be mobilized to defend against the grave threats. States of emergency are coming. But are there enough firemen? Australia is coming. There will not be a market solution.