Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bernie Says "NO!" Krugman Counters, Obama Seeks Verboten Freeze in Domestic Spending To Placate Mathematically Challenged

You know that I have a lot of respect for Paul Krugman's judgment - even when I think he is wrong (and his full disclosure is almost fuller than I wished). Before reading his latest on the Bernanke reconfirmation, I would have been able to tell you exactly why it was a very bad idea. Surprisingly enough though, Paul does it for me, and then convinces me that he's probably right (purely on the grounds of self defense). Which I hate. Bernie Sanders actually makes a better case but can we afford the revenge? (Okay. I can. But can the country?) (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Joe Bageant is much more amenable to my way of thinking and his latest thoughts jibe much more closely with my own insights. He even gets to straighten out a "tea partyer" who is absolutely sure of his own judgment (which is uneducated, sure, but held by about 70% of the population).

About the Tea Party movement. Yeah, you're right. It is not what it started out to be. Personally, I believe it has been co-opted by ultra conservative GOP think tanks operating in the background. I've seen it happen before and I believe I am seeing it happen now. With no proof, mind you. However, when I smell fresh dog shit in the air, I assume the presence of a dog somewhere about. I am not alone in this. Many veteran journalists agree with me privately, but cannot say so publicly because they cannot prove it. They supposedly have journalistic standards and public responsibilities to which they adhere (they cannot prove that either). I, on the other hand, am moreover retired from journalism as a vocation, and have a big mouth. In the typical crankiness of aging Southerners given to drink, I have taken to calling things as I see them. Or smell them, as the case may be. And these days with the political climate reeking like a whorehouse after the fleet pulls out, the olfactory bulbs reign triumphant.

Please read the rest here (I guarantee you won't regret the moments you spend).

The Bernanke Conundrum (Paul Krugman) A Republican won in Massachusetts — and suddenly it’s not clear whether the Senate will confirm Ben Bernanke for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman. That’s not as strange as it sounds: Washington has suddenly noticed public rage over economic policies that bailed out big banks but failed to create jobs. And Mr. Bernanke has become a symbol of those policies. Where do I stand? I deeply admire Mr. Bernanke, both as an economist and for his response to the financial crisis. (Full disclosure: before going to the Fed he headed Princeton’s economics department, and hired me for my current position there.) Yet his critics have a strong case. In the end, I favor his reappointment, but only because rejecting him could make the Fed’s policies worse, not better. How did we get to the point where that’s the most I can say? . . . That’s not a ringing endorsement, but it’s the best I can do. If Mr. Bernanke is reappointed, he and his colleagues need to realize that what they consider a policy success is actually a policy failure. We have avoided a second Great Depression, but we are facing mass unemployment — unemployment that will blight the lives of millions of Americans — for years to come. And it’s the Fed’s responsibility to do all it can to end that blight.
Please read the rest here as it's an eye opener.
J. Bradford DeLong says this is an economic disaster in the making. I agree. You decide. (Oh, and Obama is perfectly okay with being a one-term President? If only he'd campaigned on that plank.) Danny Schechter, who is always a treat to read, points out that Obama is Kowtowing as he Seeks 3-Year Freeze in Spending on Many Domestic Programs.

President Obama will call for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs, and for increases no greater than inflation after that, an initiative intended to signal his seriousness about cutting the budget deficit, administration officials said Monday. The freeze would cover the agencies and programs for which Congress allocates specific budgets each year, including air traffic control, farm subsidies, education, nutrition and national parks. [More here →]

J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics at U.C Berkeley: This Is Such a Disaster in the Making… Doesn’t anybody in the White House know how to play this game? First rule of politics: If you have campaigned against a proposal called a “freeze,” and denounced it in the most eloquent terms, don’t call your own proposal a “freeze.” Obama To Diane Sawyer: ‘I Would ‘Rather Be Really Good One-Term President’ Obama tells Diane Sawyer he doesn’t want to be a “mediocre two-term president.” ABC has posted the whole transcript here.

And I'm pretty sure that you don't want to know why Haiti has been responded to like its middle name is New Orleans.

LA Times: Haitian Elite Planning A New Capital/ New Haiti - This article of how members of the elite there began planning to rebuild within an HOUR after the quake hit is seen by the person who sent it to me as evidence that they a) were not all that eager to provide aid immediately and b) saw it as an opportunity to move the poor out of the new capital they hope to build. Businessmen who have been part of creating low-wage factories in partnership with US firms were part of the group. “You would think their first concern would be saving the people.” she said. “Is this too conspiratorial? Perhaps. But there must be reasons for the delay in aid for the masses there beyond the logistical “bottlenecks” we are being told about since many procedures have now changed suggesting there was only the barest of plans and knowledge of what to do among the US military who everyone assumed knew what they are doing. CNN reports (that a)id is beginning to seep through and reach more people but this is now two weeks after the disaster struck. There are still major shortages of materials and personnel.

No wonder TV news prefers focusing on the more feel-good news, the uplifting stories about orphans coming to America.

That's certainly my choice. Just don't let any of those damned legless Haitians in legally. Suzan __________________


rjs said...

simon johnson, former chief economist at the IMF, has been blogging for krugman for Fed chair, which krugman says is crazy...i have advocated for volcker for Fed chair at this crucial point, using a baseball analogy: we're in the the last of the ninth in the playoffs, and the current pitcher has loaded the choice but to bring in the closer, tall paul...if we win this one, then anyone can start opening game next season...

i cant interpret the freeze as anything but continued kabuki theater...first the bank tax, then the volcker rule, now the freeze, all in a weeks time...this is no time to curtail spending (even at the estimated 1/16th percent of the budget) when unemployments is still over 10%, and projected by the CBO to stay that high the rest of the next year

rjs said...

just a link to put the $250B spending freeze in perspective:
$300 billion F-35 fighter jet - Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn on Thursday [21 Jan 10] underscored the Pentagon's commitment to Lockheed Martin Corp's $300 billion F-35 fighter jet, saying the U.S. government and its allies still planned to buy 3,000 of the new fighters over time.

Suzan said...

Love Simon but Krugman would be mad if he were so foolish as to take that job. Elizabeth Warren is my candidate.

No Volcker - Trained at Chase Manhattan, founding member of Trilateral Commission, Group of Thirty and Bilderberg Group club member, chairman of New York investment banking firm, J. Rothschild, Wolfensohn, whose figurehead was World Bank President before McNamara/Wolfowitz (and you remember how that is still working out) - he had his chance as he already depressed my economy during his Dim/Rethuglican run more than enough for my pocketbook/lack of retirement.

Why not hire a person not already indebted to the Rockefeller/Bilderberg/Government Sachs thugs?

Just sayin'.

And Kabuki? Perfect. It will only seem to hurt the lower classes and these budgets prolly won't grow amid the lack of monies anyway.

The defense world? Obama is the MAN.

Thanks for responding.


rjs said...

im not worried about where volcker came from at this point...we need someone competent to undo what helicopter ben has done to the the Fed's balance sheet...volcker has been at the helm thru our worst stagflation, which was not of his doing, but due to the OPEC oil price shock...i gotta believe its in the best interest of everyone, including the trilateral commisssion, et al, to get out of this in one piece...

Suzan said...


I see you believe in the "OPEC oil price shock." Ever read "Harper's" magazine's exposure of that con game?

It's been going on a while now you know. We will be receiving another "shock" soon.

Thanks for commenting.