Unless the polls are wrong, as the saying goes, today might be the last day I can engage in a bit of idle speculation I’ve enjoyed immensely since October 2011. It starts with the premise that a President Romney, the House GOP, and Senate Democrats would almost certainly engage in short-term deficit-financed stimulus. But with “stimulus” having become a dirty word, it would necessarily have to travel under a different name.
Others who are less than enthusiastic about Mitt Romney have been making this case as well.
Here is Ezra Klein, writing in June:
There’s a good chance that a Romney administration would extend both Bush and Obama’s tax cuts and delay the scheduled spending cuts. Congress would raise the debt ceiling after Romney promised congressional Republicans that he’d sign some variant of Paul Ryan’s budget as soon as it’s sent to him. Somewhere along the way, Romney would pass both more short-term tax cuts and a long-term transportation bill — something Republicans have been blocking under Obama — that doubles as an infrastructure package and includes, to secure Republican support, the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
And Joe Weisenthal, in April:
The US still needs big fiscal deficits to keep allowing the private sector to deleverage. If Obama wins re-election, you’ll see a President who’s open to across-the-board tax hikes sit across from the table from a Republican Congress that’s more eager than ever to cut spending.
If Romney wins, you’ll see a new President that’s eager to stimulate using every last tool at his disposal, sitting across from a Republican Congress that has long forgotten about austerity or deficit reduction.
And Matt Yglesias today:
Yet insofar as I have to guess, I think short-term growth will be faster under Romney than Obama for three reasons. First, in the post-1980 era you get bigger budget deficits with Republicans in the White House than with Democrats, and that’s a good thing in the short-term. Second, the Federal Reserve seems to be biased and delivers looser monetary policy with Republicans in the White House. Third, Republicans are much more likely to promote short-term economic growth at the expense of environmental concerns.
Here’s another detail I can add to this picture: It’s my understanding that, if Romney is elected tomorrow and President Obama is reduced to three months of lame-duckery, Congress can enact a one-year extension of the Bush tax rates that would not require Obama’s signature. In other words, Mitt Romney may be able to pocket a short-term economy-goosing accomplishment without even taking office.