I very rarely (all right, never) mention anything emanating from MSNBC Money but the following piece just seems irresistible. Plus it's all about that ladies' man, Nouriel Roubini, and his considered opinion on who caused this shoddy economy (right, and now I'm being subtle).
Did George W. Bush Cause This Crisis? Mon, Aug 15, 2011 One well-known economist says that former President George W. Bush is to blame for the current economic crisis. Nouriel Roubini, a New York University professor nicknamed "Dr. Doom" for his dour views on the economy, says in this video that when President Obama came to power, he inherited a budget deficit of $1.2 trillion. When Bush came to power, the country had a surplus of $300 billion. How did we get a $1.5 trillion change in our fiscal condition during Bush's time in office? Roubini lists five factors: 1. We cut taxes. 2. We spent $2 trillion on two unwinnable wars. 3. We doubled discretionary spending. Some conservatives originally aimed to "starve the beast" by cutting taxes in order to force future cuts in spending. But spending grew so out of control in Bush's term that no beast was starved, Roubini said. In fact, the beast was fed. 4. We added entitlement benefits like the Medicare drug benefit. 5. We entered the largest economic and financial crisis ever, which caused a huge increase in the deficit through the "recession deficit" and the cost of bailing out the banks and financial institutions. "We destroyed our fiscal sustainability before [President Obama] came to power," Roubini said. "We had guns and butter and low taxes. It doesn't work. iI you want guns and butter, you should have high taxes during wars." Roubini was referring to the "guns or butter" macroeconomic model, that says that a nation must choose between defense spending or civilian spending, or some combination of both. Obama "inherited a mess," Roubini added. "We're lucky that this Great Recession is not turning into another Great Depression." Roubini became famous after warning in 2005 that the housing bubble would cause an economic crisis. Many dismissed him at the time, but after the housing bubble collapsed he was given credit for foreseeing the problems.At least it's not a Great Depression for Dr. Doom yet. For the rest of us? Without jobs or any type of public spending to rescue the economy from years of recession? It is. On another subject, Russell Brand knew Amy Winehouse before they were celebrities when they were both part of the London-Camden Town scene. His tribute is one of the most sincere that I've read and it rings a few bells with me.
And on almost the same note, stolen from my ideal Coyote Prime:
From time to time I’d bump into Amy she had good banter so we could chat a bit and have a laugh, she was “a character” but that world was riddled with half cut, doped up chancers, I was one of them, even in early recovery I was kept afloat only by clinging to the bodies of strangers (like) Winehouse, but for her gentle quirks didn’t especially register.
Then she became massively famous and I was pleased to see her acknowledged but mostly baffled because I’d not experienced her work and this not being the 1950’s I wondered how a “jazz singer” had achieved such cultural prominence. I wasn’t curious enough to do anything so extreme as listen to her music or go to one of her gigs, I was becoming famous myself at the time and that was an all consuming experience. It was only by chance that I attended a Paul Weller gig at the Roundhouse that I ever saw her live.
I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fucking genius.
Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began. She came on a few of my TV and radio shows, I still saw her about but now attended to her with a little more interest. Publicly though, Amy increasingly became defined by her addiction. Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall. The destructive personal relationships, the blood soaked ballet slippers, the aborted shows, that youtube madness with the baby mice. In the public perception this ephemeral tittle-tattle replaced her timeless talent. This and her manner in our occasional meetings brought home to me the severity of her condition. Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death. I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre, Focus12 I found recovery, through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts which are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive.
Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.
We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.