Edmond-Charles Genêt to Thomas Jefferson, 1797: Weekend Reading

Ten Years Ago on Grasping Reality: July 8, 2008

Preview of Some Fairly Recent Must and Should Reads About Economic Inequality

Perry Bacon, Jr., is a bad human being: Marcus Brauchli Has, I Think, Made a Big Mistake (Washington Post Death Spiral Watch): Former WSJ executive Marcus Brauchli has agreed to take over the Washington Post.... This is, I think, a huge mistake for him and his reputation.... All you have to look at is page A1 of this morning's paper--at the article by Perry Bacon, Jr., who has already written what the Columbia Journalism Review judged the worst article of the 2008 campaign. The headline of the article is: "Candidates Diverge on How to Save Social Security". The echo of Paul Krugman's 2000 joke: "If Bush said that the world was flat, the headline on the news analysis [the next day] would read 'Shape of Earth: Views Differ'" is clear. But nobody at the Washington Post gets the joke. And the substance of the article is as bad as the headline...

Wise: Ben Bernanke Is Right: If we were back in the late nineteenth century, there would be no question--back then, banks were banks. Anything that promised liquidity, borrowed short, and invested long was a bank. And central banks existed to watch over them. It's only in our more legalistic age that we have non-banks that aren't shepherded by the central bank...

Rare among veterans, John McCain is a big fan of 'preemptive war': Jed Lewison on Why America Cannot Afford to Elect John McCain: My line used to be that John McCain was the best possible Republican candidate--he was, after all, the only one not enthusiastically in favor of torture. But Jed Lewison has now convinced me that McCain is worse than I could previously have imagined. How has he done this. By firing up the Wayback Machine and taking us back to 2002 to listen to John McCain on the virtues of preemptive wars...

Republican Economists Who Aren't Supporting McCain's Economic Plan: A lot of economists who you would expect to have signed on--subcabinet appointees in past Republican administrations, et cetera—have not. One would expect, based on political loyalties and willingness to serve in Republican administrations, to see Greg Mankiw, Paul Wonnacott, Dick Schmalensee, Michael Mussa, Thomas Moore, Gary Seevers, Marina von Neumann Whitman, Kristin J. Forbes, Katherine Baicker, Matthew J. Slaughter, Andrew Samwick, and others on the list. They are not there. That is good news...

John McCain's Budget Policy: Government by the Underpants Gnomes!: Cr--! Robert Pear of the New York Times called, looking for a soundbite on McCain's budget policy. I blathered on, while the perfect soundbite was waiting in my email inbox, unread. It was: "Underpants Gnomes"...

Jim Hamiton Listens to Janet Yellen of the SF Fed on Risks for the U.S. Economy: I still think that my best moment in the Clinton administration was passing out individual sheets of paper to individual members of the House estimating how many of their constituents would benefit from expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. But I now think doing the staffwork for getting Janet Yellen into the Federal Reserve was almost as positive a public service...

Hilzoy Speaks Ill of the Living: of all those conservatives who praise Jesse Helms, that is...

Let Us Now Speak Ill of the Living...: "Let us speak ill of the editors of National Review, who write.... "It is easy to rattle off a long list of what Senator No opposed. First and foremost was Communism.... He was against many other things as well: federal funding of obscene art, ineffective aid to foreign governments, and the continual encroachments of Big Government on everyday life. One of the things he was against in the 1960s was, alas, civil rights. His defense of segregation was of course deeply misguided. But is it fair for this error to have been placed in the first sentence of the New York Times’s obituary of him?..."

John McCain Leaves Budget Reality Far Behind...: To John McCain's promises to (a) wage more wars abroad and (b) cut taxes for the rich while (c) limiting domestic spending cuts to waste, fraud, and abuse he has now added a promise to balance the budget by 2013--a promise that his substantive policy advisorrs had been trying to keep him from making all winter and spring...

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