Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Newt Gingrich is probably the most influential and destructive master of the evil tongue in our time. As Dana Milbank reminded us recently in the Washington Post, Newt way back in 1978 wrote “one of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don’t encourage you to be nasty.” He then has worked his whole career to correct that "problem" by devoting much effort to creative name-calling and character assassination. In an infamous memo, he advocated calling the opposition: “anti,” “betray,” “bizarre,” “corrupt,” “destructive,” “disgrace,” “shame,” “lie,” “pathetic,” “radical,” “self-serving,” “selfish,” “shallow,” “shame,” “sick,” “traitors.”
Newt is a guy who stayed up nights thinking of names to call people. A true master of the evil tongue. Sarah Palin recently gave Newt a run for his money as a mistress of the evil tongue, rising to new heights by combining a beautiful face and malicious speech in a way outdoing the movie "Mean Girls." But for a lasting impact, no one has outdone Newt.
Now we have the delicious sight of the master of the evil tongue being slaughtered by millions spent on calling him names, and succeeding in tearing him down. Perhaps it's bad form to rejoice, but it certainly couldn't happen to a more deserving fellow.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Nixon once said "We are all Keynesians now," but since the rise of "supply side" economics Republicans have had a strong anti-Keynesian stream. While consistency has never been politicians' strong suit, the rejection of Keynes has been a reason to dismiss Obama's stimulus as useless, and to combat any efforts at stimulus.
This is a critical issue, because a key divide now is over whether we go for austerity—cutting government spending—or increasing spending through government.
Unfortunately reporters in the mainstream press won't touch this issue, on the question of where the truth lies. But it is raging in op-eds. Here Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson attacks Keynes, and in response Paul Krugman and Dean Baker issue lacerating replies. It will be interesting to see if the mainstream press reports on the debate.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
He writes: "Even if you like the thrust of Ryan’s ideas, even if you think privatizing Medicare and turning it into a voucher scheme is fine, what became painfully, embarrassingly clear during the debate over the Ryan plan was that Ryan is, well, incompetent; the plan was a mess, from its invocation of ludicrous Heritage Foundation projections to its crazy assertions about what would happen to discretionary spending. ...Oh, and it was pretty clear that Ryan wasn’t being honest about his own numbers."
Why the incompetence and dishonest? Well it all makes sense if they are not interested in actually improving the country, but only conning the Republic on behalf of their paymasters. As I was saying...
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The idea of social insurance was originated as a practical plan by Otto von Bismark, not exactly a screaming liberal, I believe as way to neuter Marxism. Roosevelt enacted the first social insurance in the US, the Social Security program.
I have heard Republican conservatives for the past fifty years philosophically rejecting the idea of government social insurance programs, and attempting to replace them with something with a market component, and generally with an eye to making them market based, and not government social insurance programs, particularly compulsory ones, which advocates say are necessary for them to be a reliable social safety net.
Starting with Goldwater and Reagan:
Reagan campaigned on behalf of for the AMA against the passage of Medicare, an effort which was the launch of his political career. Reagan spent much of his 1964 speech introducing Goldwater supporting. Goldwater’s view that Social Security should be made voluntary
Note that Goldwater and Reagan's original position was to make social security completely voluntary. That abolishes the programs as entitlements, because if you don't have the money to fund your own program for yourself, you are not entitled to anything more from the government, right? The "socializing" of insurance is gone, and so far as I can see that is the whole point of the recurrent efforts to change social insurance programs.
W Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security was a centerpiece of his 2004 campaign.
Furthermore, Bush made it clear philosophically that this was but a first step: In 2000, Bush said "It's going to take a while to transition to a system where personal savings accounts are the predominant part of the investment vehicle. ...This is a step toward a completely different world, and an important step."
I heard Republicans screaming bloody murder at a town hall meeting at South Lakes High School in the summer of 2009 about Obama's compulsory government health insurance, and all of the Republican Presidential candidates propose to repeal it, I believe.
The current Ryan proposal on Medicare would “extinguish medicare as a guaranteed coverage program for new enrollees and would replace the program with healthcare vouchers.”
The point is that all these are efforts to start dismantling Social Insurance programs with guaranteed coverage.
I should emphasize that the point of these is not to reduce the cost of these programs and provide similar coverage, at least as judged by their evaluation by the Congressional Budget Office, which is generally regarded as pretty non-partisan. Bush's program would not have put Social Security current benefits into a hole. Ryan's proposal would greatly reduce future health benefits, unless health care costs were greatly constrained, and his plan did nothing to contain health care costs. (Unlike Obama's, according to the CBO.)
In light of all of this I think it is just plain fact that Republicans have had a big problem with government social insurance programs, particularly compulsory ones, and have wanted to at least partially replace them with private market mechanisms. Because of Goldwater's, Reagan's, and it seems W. Bush's unvarnished views, I think it is understandable that Democrats view the current efforts as a first step to completely replacing comprehensive government programs with private ones. Certainly Republicans have never said "we want to restrict the private segment to x%" Quite the contrary.
Currently it may be that very few current Republican elected officials say "I want to abolish social security and medicare", but the record over decades is that they keep trying to reduce them as government insurance programs as much as possible. And they do want to abolish compulsory Health Insurance. Is there something I'm missing here about Republican opposition to government social insurance?
The response to the above was to stop talking about it, but to repeat that no Republican wants to dismantle the entitlements. This depends on what you mean by "dismantle." It you mean by "dismantle": they should not be mandatory or cover everybody, so they are no longer "entitlements", then the above shows that they do indeed want to dismantle.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Here's the nub of the argument:
"The whole game was based on one new innovation: the derivative instruments like CDOs that allowed them to take junk-rated home loans and turn them into AAA-rated instruments. It was not Barney Frank who made it possible for Goldman, Sachs to sell the home loan of an occasionally-employed janitor in Oakland or Detroit as something just as safe as, and more profitable than, a United States Treasury Bill. This was something they cooked up entirely by themselves and developed solely with the aim of making more money.
"The government’s efforts to make home loans more available to people showed up in a few places in this whole tableau. For one thing, it made it easier for the Countrywides of the world to create their giant masses of loans. And secondly, the Fannies and Freddies of the world were big customers of the banks, buying up mortgage-backed securities in bulk along with the rest of the suckers. Without a doubt, the bubble would not have been as big, or inflated as fast, without Fannie and Freddie.
"But the bubble was overwhelmingly built around a single private-sector economic reality that had nothing to do with any of that: new financial instruments made it possible to sell crap loans as AAA-rated paper."
The whole article and the follow-up rebuttal are well worth reading. Addendum Monday November 7. Krugman today links to two excellent articles on "the big lie" of the innocence of Wall Street in the financial collapse. I hope this issue is getting enough noise to get into TV coverage.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
All this is further evidence that the Republicons are so addicted to a thoroughly refuted ideology—that deregulation and tax cutting and shrinking government will lead to a boom—that they are delusional. The most prominent evidence of this, though, is the respectful reception that Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan had in the Republican debates. It was obviously a crackpot idea. The only one who said it would work were Cain and his "economist" who wasn't an economist. No others, liberal or conservative, were backing it.
The fact that Cain rose to number one in the polls among Republicans is the biggest evidence that the Republican electorate is out of touch with reality. The latest, most thorough analysis from the Tax Policy Center makes clear just how big a disaster Cain's plan would be, and how far it is from what he claims. 84% of Americans would pay more taxes, and the top income earners would pay massively less. So Cain's plan would strike a body blow against consumer demand, and in turn massively increase unemployment.
The Republi-CON is not only Cain, but all of them, including Romney. The success of the Democrats in 2012 is going to depend on their discrediting the whole Republi-CON, in the way that Cain is now discredited. Cain will now sink in the polls, I believe. If only Obama and other Democratic leaders would bring the argument to bear on the whole Republican con!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Over lunch, Barry [Barack], who was 9 at the time, sat at the dining table and listened intently but did not speak. When he asked to be excused, Ann [Obama's mother] directed him to ask the hostess for permission. Permission granted, he got down on the floor and played with Bryant’s son, who was 13 months old. After lunch, the group took a walk, with Barry running ahead. A flock of Indonesian children began lobbing rocks in his direction. They ducked behind a wall and shouted racial epithets. He seemed unfazed, dancing around as though playing dodge ball “with unseen players,” Bryant said. Ann did not react. Assuming she must not have understood the words, Bryant offered to intervene. “No, he’s O.K.,” Ann said. “He’s used to it.”
“We were floored that she’d bring a half-black child to Indonesia, knowing the disrespect they have for blacks,” Bryant said. At the same time, she admired Ann for teaching her boy to be fearless. A child in Indonesia needed to be raised that way — for self-preservation, Bryant decided. Ann also seemed to be teaching Barry respect. He had all the politeness that Indonesian children displayed toward their parents. He seemed to be learning Indonesian ways.
“I think this is one reason he’s so halus,” Bryant said of the president, using the Indonesian adjective that means “polite, refined, or courteous,” referring to qualities some see as distinctively Javanese. “He has the manners of Asians and the ways of Americans — being halus, being patient, calm, a good listener. If you’re not a good listener in Indonesia, you’d better leave.”
In short, it seems clear that Obama's cultural upbringing taught him to behave with an almost overweaning civility and respect to authority figures. Arguably, this trait, which epitomizes his civility and basic morality, has damaged his ability to portray himself as an effective transactional leader (in the bureaucratic form envisioned by Max Weber). While he may be an incredible charismatic leader, that type of leadership is not enough. When your opponents are uncivil, insist upon economic theories which are unworkable in a recession; when they work arduously to suppress voter registration of minority groups and low income populations; and persist in arguing that massive growth in wealth inequality is "O.K" or perhaps indicative of a lazy attitude among workers, it behooves a real leader to stand up and use the bully pulpit. Obama has been weak-kneed in doing so. (Oh, and by the way, if Republicans persist in acting as if Article 6 of the Constituion - which prohibits any test for the office of the President based upon religion - does not exist, the forth estate needs to inform them of therror of their ways. It's not happening.)
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Baker argues that Liberals have been accepting the Conservative line that they favor market solutions. This puts the Liberals in the position where they look like they are just trying to bail out the losers in the competitive market place.
In fact, the Conservative line is a lie, as they support all kinds of government limitations on the free market—so long as they favor the rich. Baker puts forward proposals that restructure the market to as to benefit "the bulk of the working population rather than just a small elite."
I've just started the book, but his basic analysis of the Republi-CON seems right on target.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The argument in question was that when Krugman points out that WWII overcame the depression by massive spending he is being a war monger. Of course he is arguing for government spending on infrastructure, education, etc., not war.
I think what this points up is that Democrats should not only be answering the arguments of the RepubliCONs, but to point out their dishonesty. They are not interested in the truth, but only name-calling and belittling the opposition.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
What I think is missing from this debate is the most interesting thing about it. Obama, by not using the "bully pulpit" to educate the public on economic issues, and the devastatingly bad impact of RepubliCON policies, has ceded the field to the Right Wing crazies. Their narrative is not contradicted.
Yes, it is contradicted by Krugman, Ezra Klein, Dean Baker and others we've been quoting here. But not in the national mainstream TV news: the CBS NBC ABC CNN. Only Obama making the case for government investment and against austerity will get the public on his side. He's just relying on them seeing him as responsible. But that didn't work in 2010. Yes, there's a failure of leadership.
Jonathan Chait argues that the "bully pulpit" is way overrated and hardly has any impact. I really doubt that, not because it's not the President alone. Once the President takes the field philosophically against small government cut taxes on the rich people, the whole public debate will change. The latest example of this is when Ross Perot took out his charts about the deficit, it changed the narrative, and the Clinton tax increases resulted, which helped.
Friday, August 12, 2011
There's a famous definition of the Yiddish word "chutzpah". The fellow who beats you and cries "Help, Help!" Now HE has chutzpah. He's going to blame you for attacking him. Even after he's stolen your money he's going to try to get you arrested!
That's what the RepubliCONs have been doing. They held up the country by needlessly threatening to force the government not to pay it's debts and creating an international financial collapse. And they refused to compromise. It's only Wall Street that brought enough RepubliCONs along not to collapse the whole financial system.
So the guy being beaten here is Obama—and the rest of the country. And what does he say when the police arrive. "There's a fight going on here; can you separate us." No dammit, he mugged you and us. Tell the truth. As I think Churchill once said, there's a difference between an arsonist and a fireman. Obama has really now gone too far. It's like the guy who spits in your face and you say it's raining. Hey, Obama, it's our face he's spitting in as well. Tell the truth!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Now explain to me again why Obama doesn't mention this?
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Why is this?
Thursday, July 28, 2011
What is the government now proposing to do? Cut public investment. As Ezra Klein documents this disaster for our future is what Obama is proposing, and the RepubliCON are proposing to hurt us far worse. This is how the USA declines. Sad day.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Ironically, the first Republican president was not just the "Great Emancipator", but also the "Great Investor," believing in the massive public works that the current Republi—CONs refuse to enact.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The short version: "Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan says that tax expenditures are “misclassified” because they are identical to outlays. Gregory Mankiw, who led President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, calls expenditures 'stealth spending implemented through the tax code.' You can’t find a serious economist on God’s green Earth who thinks the economy differentiates between cutting a government program that subsidizes health insurance and cutting an equally large tax break that subsidizes the purchase of health insurance. The crude budget calculus that counts every dollar in spending cuts as a win for Republicans and every dollar in revenue increases as a win for Democrats is simply wrong..."
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
I see his point, but I think it's wrong. If he were hammering constantly on the false analysis and damaging prescriptions of the Republi-CONs, I think he'd not have lost so much in the midterms. And he'd be in a stronger position in 2012.
What do I know about politics? I don't, but Lee Kuan Yew, one of the most successful politicians of the past century, says: always argue your case, as forcefully as you can. I think he's right. What do you all think?
Friday, July 15, 2011
This pinpoints a great source of my frustration with journalists today: they won't seem to be able to ask "Why?" If they ever asked the Republi-CON sloganeers and blowhards "Why did the economy collapse under W. Bush?" And "Why would be expect any different result from your policy prescriptions?" All they could do is sputter or chance the subject. Here is Yglesias:
"What you have here is a political movement that no longer understands its own theory. Flash back to the 1970s. You have high unemployment. But you also have high inflation. Because inflation is already high, you can’t boost growth by boosting aggregate demand. You need reforms that operate “on the supply side” and lower marginal tax rates count. Now we can debate ’till the cows come home whether or not Ronald Reagan’s 1981 budget actually had important supply side benefits, but the basic story makes sense. But by 1996, what is the problem that Bob Dole is trying to solve with this tax cut? He’s grappling with the political problem of “a steady stream of solid economic news—low unemployment, mild inflation and rising wages.” We need supply-side reform because . . . why? Ever since then, conservatives haven’t really answered “why” questions about their economic prescriptions. Instead they prescribe a cure for stagflation regardless of the situation. And over time, this scenario has become more and more toxic, such that today they’ve decided that we are experiencing high inflation even though we’re not."
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
"Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs."
And Krugman's comment:
"Yep, the false government-family equivalence, the myth of expansionary austerity, and the confidence fairy, all in just two sentences."
I think I've figured out a way to explain why the government-family equivalence is wrong: The government is a bank. Just as banks lend out much more money than is on their books, so too the relation between government income and spending is not the same as in a family. By deficit spending in some cases—like bank lending, when you look at at—can help grow the economy.
Krugman has extensive columns, linked in his post, on "the myth of expansionary austerity" and "the confidence fairy."
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
How can open society protect itself against dangerously deceptive arguments? Only by recognizing their existence and their power to influence reality by influencing people’s perceptions. People’s thinking is part of the reality they need to understand, and that makes the understanding of reality much harder than the philosophers of the Enlightenment imagined. They envisioned reason as something apart from reality, acting as a searchlight illuminating it. That is true for natural science but not human affairs. In political discourse we must learn to give precedence to the understanding of reality; otherwise the results will fail to conform to our expectations. Karl Popper took it for granted that the primary purpose of political discourse is the pursuit of truth. That is not the case now; therefore we must make it so. What was a hidden assumption in Popper’s argument must be turned into an explicit requirement for open society to prevail.
I thought I had a convincing argument in favor of the truth. Look at the results of the Bush policies: they were designed to demonstrate America’s supremacy, and they achieved the exact opposite; American power and influence suffered a precipitous decline. This goes to show, I argued, that it is not enough to manipulate perceptions; it is important to understand how the world really works. In other words, the cognitive function must take precedence over the manipulative function. That is the additional requirement I put into my definition of open society, but obviously it did not have an effect on the public that reelected Bush in 2004.
The election of President Obama in 2008 sent a powerful message to the world that the US is capable of radically changing course when it recognizes that it is on the wrong track. But the change was temporary: his election and inauguration were the high points of his presidency. Already the reelection of President Bush had convinced me that the malaise in American society went deeper than incompetent leadership. The American public was unwilling to face harsh reality and was positively asking to be deceived by demanding easy answers to difficult problems.
The fate of the Obama presidency reinforced that conviction. Obama assumed the presidency in the midst of a financial crisis whose magnitude few people appreciated, and he was not among those few. But he did recognize that the American public was averse to facing harsh realities and he had great belief in his own charismatic powers. He also wanted to rise above party politics and become—as he put it in his campaign speeches—the president of the United States of America. Consequently, he was reluctant to forthrightly blame the outgoing administration and went out of his way to avoid criticism and conflict. He resorted to what George Akerlof and Robert Shiller called the “confidence multiplier” in their influential book Animal Spirits. Accordingly, in the hope of moderating the recession, he painted a rosier picture of the economic situation than was justified.
The tactic worked in making the recession shorter and shallower than would have been the case otherwise, but it had disastrous political consequences. The confidence multiplier is, in effect, one half of a reflexive feedback loop: a positive influence on people’s perceptions can have a positive feedback in its effects on the underlying economic reality. But if reality, for example the unemployment rate, fails to live up to expectations, confidence turns to disappointment and anger; that is the other half of the reflexive feedback loop, and that is what came to pass.
The electorate showed little appreciation of Obama for moderating the recession because it was hardly aware of what he had done. By avoiding conflict Obama handed the initiative to the opposition, and the opposition had no incentive to cooperate. The Republican propaganda machine was able to convince people that the financial crisis was due to government failure, not market failure. According to the Republican narrative, the government cannot be trusted and its role in the economy—both regulation and taxation—should be reduced to a minimum.
he Republicans had good reason to take this line: it is a half-truth that advanced their political agenda. What is surprising is the extent of their success. The explanation lies partly in the power of Orwell’s Newspeak and partly in the aversion of the public to facing harsh realities.
On the one hand, Newspeak is extremely difficult to contradict because it incorporates and thereby preempts its own contradiction, as when Fox News calls itself fair and balanced. Another trick is to accuse your opponent of the behavior of which you are guilty, like Fox News accusing me of being the puppet master of a media empire. Skillful practitioners always attack the strongest point of their opponent, like the Swiftboat ads attacking John Kerry’s Vietnam War record. Facts do not provide any protection, and rejecting an accusation may serve to have it repeated; but ignoring it can be very costly, as John Kerry discovered in the 2004 election.
On the other hand, the pursuit of truth has lost much of its appeal. When reality is unpleasant, illusions offer an attractive escape route. In difficult times unscrupulous manipulators enjoy a competitive advantage over those who seek to confront reality. Nazi propaganda prevailed in the Weimar Republic because the public had been humiliated by military defeat and disoriented by runaway inflation. In its own quite different way, the American public has been subjected to somewhat comparable experiences, first by the terrorist attacks of September 11, and then by the financial crisis, which not only caused material hardship but also seemed to seal the decline of the United States as the dominant power in the world. With the rise of China occurring concurrently, the shift in power and influence has been dramatic.
The two trends taken together—the reluctance to face harsh reality coupled with the refinement in the techniques of deception—explain why America is failing to meet the requirements of an open society. Apparently, a society needs to be successful in order to remain open.
What can we do to preserve and reinvigorate open society in America? First, I should like to see efforts to help the public develop an immunity to Newspeak. Those who have been exposed to it from Nazi or Communist times have an allergic reaction to it; but the broad public is highly susceptible.
Second, I should like to convince the American public of the merits of facing harsh reality. As I earlier wrote, I have from my childhood been drawn to contending with what may seem insurmountable challenges. Those in charge of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, have done well in identifying me as their adversary. They have done less well in the methods they have used to attack me: their lies shall not stand and their techniques shall not endure.
But improving the quality of political discourse is not enough. We must also find the right policies to deal with the very real problems confronting the country: high unemployment and chronic budget and trade deficits. The financing of state and local governments is heading for a breakdown. The Republicans have gained control of the agenda, and they are promoting a misleading narrative: everything is the government’s fault. The Democrats are forced into fighting a rearguard battle, defending the opposite position.
We need to undertake a profound rethinking of the workings of our political system and recognize that half-truths are misleading. The fact that your opponent is wrong does not make you right. We must come to terms with the fact that we live in an inherently imperfect society in which both markets and government regulations are bound to fall short of perfection. The task is to reduce the imperfections and make both private enterprise and government work better. That is the message I should like to find some way to deliver.
Monday, June 13, 2011
It looks like none of the current Republicons, including the candidates for president got the memo.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
I linked earlier to the article on the press treatment of the "death panels" lie. Its authors made a related point: print journalists sometimes pointed out the lie, but often did not in an effort to appear "balanced." And had that article looked at television, I think they would find a far lower percentage that have pointed out the lie.
This shows that something is broken in journalism. The first duty of journalists should be to the truth, not to balance. When journalists avoid looking for and stating the truth in order to be balanced they are doing the public a grave disservice. Something is broken in much of the TV news.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
The issue they point to is indicative of a much larger problem. Palin's lie was easily refuted. In more complex issues most journalists feel no obligation to ascertain the truth. They just quote opposite sides and leave it at that. That's the main reason, in my view, the "Republi-con," the claim that lowering taxes on the rich is the key to prosperity, still has any credibility. And why I started this blog
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Klein also pointedly asks the White House to answer why their budget fails to invest in the country, though Obama says that's a priority, and why he won't raise taxes back to what they were in the Clinton era.
I'd like some answers, but I'm not holding my breath.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Rand views all relationships in a black and white way: either altruistic or selfish. Altruistic is stupid, selfish virtuous. Relationships are trades, like buying a cabbage: I give you this, you give me that. If we are both happy with the trading we keep the relationship, as soon as either of us is not happy, we break it.
What is stupid about her philosophy is that it leaves out risk and uncertainty, and forgets about trust. We enter into longer-term relationships, whether employment or marriage, because we think that in the longer term, we, and the other person will benefit. But we don't know. We're taking a risk. And when we're asked to do something for the other person, we don't know if we are going to get support in return. It's a risk. It's not buying a cabbage. That's why the character of the other person, and trust are critical. In fact, trust is at the heart of cooperative relationships, and both marriages and economies fall apart without out it. That's because when and how much to do short term sacrifice are critical issues. When suspicion and hostility arise, and trust dissolves, then people won't enter a cooperative venture.
This is not only true in personal relationships, but in economic ones. We just saw the economy freeze up in 2008 because of the collapse of trust. Credit was no good and nobody was willing to lend. And the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression followed. To keep up trust we need both strong regulation and a sense of moral duty on the part of those with fiduciary responsibilities. Both collapsed years before the financial collapse, and partly because of those, like Greenspan, who adopted the stupid philosophy of Ayn Rand. And that's why her philosophy is not just stupid in being blind to risk and trust, but also evil. It undermines both financial discipline and cooperation for the common good. There's more evil as well, but that's enough.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The disgusting racist birther accusations are even more stark. The idea that an 18 year old pregnant girl and her 25 year old student husband would fly to Kenya to have their baby in a country is so ludicrous that nobody who is not hate-filled could believe it, even aside from the certified birth certificates, contemporaneous announcements in the newspapers, etc. Where would they get the money? Why would they fly to a third-world country with poor medical care to have a baby? Would the grandparents subsidize such a lunatic trip? This is about lies and hate.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I don't think they've been listening to me, but hopeful things are starting to turn, and there will be rebuttal.
Evidence on the High Hncome Laffer Curve
Taxing the Rich
Friday, April 15, 2011
What we need is vigorous investment in the future. Air traffic controllers sleeping on the job is just the latest indication of what happens when you starve governmental institutions: they don't work well, and the public suffers. Hence, too few at the SEC to enforce bank regulations, too few to enforce food safety. And of course, no investment in a whole new, more excellent primary and secondary education system. We are talking about probably 3-4% more of our economy for public investment in the future. That's what is needed. Are we eating our seed corn?
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
This is the moment. I'm worried.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
The bottom line: "Republicans have managed to come up with spending cuts that would do double duty, both undermining America’s future and threatening to abort a nascent economic recovery."
Thursday, March 3, 2011
The summary: " No matter how many times advocates of lower tax rates said it, tax rate cuts did not pay for themselves, did not spur economic growth, did not increase jobs, and did not make America better off.
Now that the news has been broken, let's see how many political leaders start speaking facts instead of fairy tales. And let's also watch to see how many Washington reporters, news anchors, talk show guests, and syndicated columnists use the actual figures. It's called holding politicians accountable, and it used to be a mainstay of journalism, where the first rule is to check it out and the second is to cross-check until you know what is going on and can give context."
Here's the PDF with the facts and figures.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
As for the long term deficit, as Krugman has written, it is really all about health care. Obama made a start with the health care bill, but it needs to be pushed much further to really cut health care costs. The Republicon agenda is exactly the opposite of what is needed. It will increase unemployment and undermine the long term strength of the country.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Many of the stats from Saunders have already been posted on this blog, here or the facebook version, but here is a striking new one from Saunders: 80% of the increase in wealth since 1980 has gone to the top 1%. It's not "trickle down" but "reverse Robin Hood:" rob the poor to pay the rich.
The problem is that the TV news does not usually cover Saunders. If Obama takes up the rebuttal, and emphasizes the necessity of restored higher taxes on the rich, the debate will be engaged, and the Republi-cons be forced to respond. Come on President Obama, now is the time!