Ten Years Ago on Grasping Reality: July 10, 2008

Ten Years Ago on Grasping Reality: July 11, 2008

stacks and stacks of books

EVERY TIME I TRY TO CRAWL OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN!: In short, I trot over to the J-School TV studio as part of the sober, sensible, bipartisan consensus, intending to carry water for Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson. And what do I find also on BBC/Newsnight when I get there? I FIND THAT I AM ON WITH GROVER-FRACKING-NORQUIST!! I FIND THAT I AM ON WITH GROVER-FRACKING-NORQUIST!!! WHO HAS THREE POINTS HE WANTS TO MAKE: (1) Barack Obama wants to take your money by raising your taxes and pay it to the Communist Chinese. (2) Oil prices are high today and the economy is in a near recession because of Nancy Pelosi: before Nancy Pelosi became speaker economic growth was fine--and she is responsible for high oil prices too. (3) Economic growth is stalling because congress has not extended the Bush tax cuts. Congress needs to extend the Bush tax cuts, and if it does then that will fix the economy, and if it doesn't then the economy cannot recover. I am not paid enough to deal with this lying bullshit. I am not paid enough to deal with Grover Norquist and his willful stream of defecation into the global information pool...

EconomistMom asks "Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?": Fiscal honesty doesn’t seem to pay, not with the press at least.  We’ll have to see how it goes over with the voters. The reason for this, of course, is that neither Mike Allen nor Nedda Pickler believe that they have an obligation to inform their readers. And both Mike Allen and Nedda Pickler believe that their lives will be more unpleasant if they anger John McCain's political staff. Mike Allen's current and former boss John Harris described the process.... John Harris, May 6, 2001: "Bush Catches a Washington Break.... [Bush] has done things with relative impunity that would have been huge uproars if they had occurred under Clinton.... There is one big reason for Bush's easy ride: There is no well-coordinated corps of aggrieved and methodical people who start each day looking for ways to expose and undermine a new president. There was just such a gang ready for Clinton in 1993.... We give more coverage to stories when someone is shouting.... Democrats... simply aren't as well organized. And they are not shouting as loudly..."

Why We Are a "Nation of Whiners"...: "Republicans had ideological majorities in Congress from 1981 through 2006 (at least). Republicans held the presidency for all except the eight Clinton years. The policies proposed by the executive, enacted by the legislature, and implemented by the courts over the past generation are Republican policies. And, to Phil Gramm, these policies must have worked. Hence the cognitiv dissonance created by the fact that people appear to be dissatisfied--and the "nation of whiners" quote: it's an attempt to make sense of the fact that the policies must have worked and the fact that the policies do not seem to be popular.

The Freddie-Fannie Situation Is Moving Much Faster than I Had Thought It Would..._: "Fair-value matters for private companies because things can happen that might force them to sell their assets now for whatever price they can get. That is not the case for Freddie and Fannie--with their government guarantee. For them the appropriate test is a cash-flow test: are payments coming in in excess of debt amortization payments going out? The answer is yes--so far...

Real Fiscal Responsibility II: Heritage-Brookings presents itself as balanced, but it isn't. Brookings might be able to present itself as balanced, but it shouldn't present its partnerships with Heritage as balanced. Only EPI-Heritage or CBPP-Heritage should be allowed to present themselves as balanced. And this is, in fact, the reason that Henry Aaron, Bob Greenstein, and Bob Solow got worked up about TBOFF: it's that the structure guaranteed a somewhat counterproductive document. Yet somehow this getting-worked-up surprises EconomistMom...