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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Krugman, the future, and all of that...

If your memory reaches all the way back to the key year of 2008, you'll dig Ezra Klein's interview with Paul Krugman. He discusses the "symbolism" of the (proposed) Warren challenge to Hillary Clinton.
But I don’t think Hillary Clinton is going to try and make it 1999 again. I remember in 2008 —as a Times columnist, I can't do endorsements, so you have no idea which party I favor in general elections — but I was skeptical of Obama at a time when a lot of people on the Left were very, very high on him. I heard a number of people saying, oh, god, if Hillary is elected, she's going to bring in the old Rubin crowd, people like Larry Summers, to run the economy. And then Obama got elected and did exactly that. I think, if anything, he was more conventional on economics than she was.
Side note: Did you see Slate's recent piece on Thomas Piketty? The author, feeling constrained to mention a "left of center" thinker who opposes Piketty's analysis, blurts out the name Larry Summers. Yeah. Summers. As if he represents the left.

Let's get back to the Klein/Krugman interview. On the question of whether any president can succeed in an era of such sharp political divisions, Krugman responds:
I’d say basically no, but it depends on your definition of success. You can have the economy expanding, no foreign crises, and you can preside over a time of prosperity, which is kind of what happened with Bill Clinton. But if anything actually has to be done, no. Everybody in Washington has learned this very damaging lesson, which is that if somebody else holds the White House, but you have blocking power, sabotage works.

I think we are in for a very ugly time until one party or the other establishes a strong enough hold that the other party finally has an Eisenhower moment of essentially accepting the changes and going back to some kind of politics around a relatively narrow range of issues.
Would even that work? Krugman refers here to Ike's acceptance of Keynesianism, which had proved its value. But even in the 1950s, there was a backlash which began on the fringe but eventually took over all of conservatism. If political evolution cannot manage a lasting conquest over the forces of counter-revolution, what other options do we have left?
One of my pet peeves actually is that people talk about policy as if, as long as you've avoided a hot crisis, things are okay even when they’re obviously not. The pet peeve that affects me personally is the cancellation of the Hudson Rail Tunnel in New York City, and it’s kind of perfect. Essentially, because of political partisanship, we still have the world's greatest city totally dependent on a tunnel completed in 1910 for all public transit linkage to the west. That doesn't show up in an abrupt collapse, but those sorts of things show up in a steady degradation of our prospects.
I've had similar thoughts. Compared to the most modernistic parts of China, our big cities look ancient and decrepit. The externals matter. Looks matter. If you're wearing a threadbare suit, your claim to be the richest man in the world won't be believed. How much longer will the world accept our claim to superpower-hood if we don't look like a superpower?
Honestly, I'm surprised NYC was considered to be 'all that' for as long as it has. Not only it is only the 24th most populous city in the world, but most of it is very old, and not the luxurious, sturdy kind of old.
Of our other big cities, I somewhat like Chicago, but there isn't that much going on there either. All other our cities are essentially temporary, cheap shacks, hastily built with no though of planning (other than landowner enrichment) whatsoever.
I agree, anon. (Although I wish you were not anonymous.) Baltimore, where I now live, is a failed city -- a place with an amazing past and no future. We have some lovely, quaint neighborhoods and a downtown spotted with wonderful buildings, some old, some new. But the riots of 1968 pretty much killed this place.

Los Angeles used to be heaven. But ever since property values began to shoot up -- this would be around twelve-to-fifteen years ago -- it has been unlovable and unlivable.
Cut it out, Joseph. Baltimore is darling, and has a splendid quirky-chic future. I'm listening to the top-ten on an indie radio station, that features local artists. In the two.five years I've been here I've been partly responsible for bringing in four local murals, been given money to start a non-profit (but not enough to actualize it yet) and inspired a kindred non-profit to start an arts boot camp for teens that will actually employ them once they've been trained. (They know how to raise six figures....I, alas, do not.)

My home doubled in value in less than a year. It's nearing triple. There is much work to be done here, true, but it's worth the effort.

I'll get you (to like it here)...and your little dog, too!!!
Zee, ever take the no. 8 bus from Downtown to Towson?

(You pass right by that graveyard where they've stashed Allen Dulles near John Wilkes Booth. I STILL can't get over that.)

Take that trip, and THEN let's talk about whether Bawlmer has a future.
America has turned to shit because it spends its every last dime on war.

It spends every last dime on war because it is controlled by war criminals and bankster criminals.

It's war criminals and bankster criminals keep stealing every last fucking dime because there is never any risk to them for destroying the country and stealing every last fucking dime. They have gamed the system so that there is no punishment, risk or harm for criminal behavior. An out of control psychopath with no risk of punishment or harm... Will continue to behave like an out of control psychopath. No surprise there.

Matt Taibbi says the "Too Big to Fail" banks are involved with a 500 trillion dollar illegal price rigging scheme which has led to the bankrupting of American towns, municipalities and companies. 500 Trillion is $80,000 for every man, woman, and child on the planet.

"Where did all the money go?"

Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Bush all belong in prison for lying the American people into war in Iraq, and for Torture and War Crimes. If Prescott Bush and Allen Dulles had gone to jail for double dealing with the Nazis, would we have ever had two Bushes and possibly a third for President wasting trillions of dollars on war? How many Trillions of dollars would not have been wasted on bullshit were it not for the Bush family? Are you still not understanding the nature of the problem? Apparently not, since it was many many years ago that Prescott Bush was busted for treasonous activities yet did not go to jail. And his offspring have been trashing the country unpunished ever since.

How could we have all gotten derailed and stuck in this timeline from hell in which we all now live?

How do we fix it?

Are you referring to the jails south of Greenmount Cemetery? Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, Maryland Penitentiary and Baltimore City Correctional Center. Since this area is the location of the Baltimore Family Support Services and the Baltimore Cit Wic Program, I assume that this is an area where a lot of poor people live. I is very depressing to have a lot of poor people in jails.
@Anonymous 11:39

The Bush crime family has hurt America? Robert Parry's (Consortium News) recent epic essay, "The Victory of Perception Management" describes how and why H. W. Bush got his ground war with Iraq, even though General Schwarzkopf wanted to take advantage of the cease-fire deal brokered by Gobachev in order to not risk American lives.

"On Feb. 28, the day the war ended, Bush celebrated the victory. “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all,” the President exulted, speaking to a group at the White House."

Countless thousands of Iraqi conscripts were slaughtered. Can't have a war economy when your population has Vietnam Syndrome.
Joseph, I have a car...I do agree that Bmore needs a better public transit system, but don't see how a cemetery illustrates that.

Happy New Year! Some neighbors invited me over...only a block away, yay, no driving or bussing. Now if I can only remember where I met them, and can remember which one is which!!
Feh. I am staying home alone. Just me, an insane dog, and (thank god) a bottle of wine.

Have a safe and happy New Year's celebration, one and all.
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