The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

To Fix America

Don Peck at the Atlantic has noticed that employment is unlikely to recover to pre-great recession levels (let alone Clintonian levels) for a long, long time.  This was totally predictable, and predicted. He also notes that even people like Paul Krugman really have no idea how to fix it.

Yes.  Employment as a percentage of the workforce will not recover for a generation.  And my bet is that median real income won’t either.

As for how you fix it, first you need to have a model for why it happened in the first place.   I’m not going to give that model today (read Wealth and Democracy, by Kevin Phillips, he has a big chunk of it).  Instead I’m going to say what needs to be done.

Fixing America

Because any economic growth right now increases the prices of oil, which then strangles the economy, you must reduce dependence on oil, or you can’t fix your problems.

Because banks aren’t lending, and because they are a net drag on the economy having destroyed more wealth than they created, you must break up the major banks or take other similiar actions to the same ends, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because defense spending is essentially un-productive you must  end the American empire, cutting “defense” spending by at least half, and “intelligence” spending by three-quarters, or you don’t fix America.

Because education is the backbone of modern economies and good education is what allows democracies to work, as the founders understood, you must fix education, so that everyone who is qualified can get a degree without being burdened by a decade of debt and so that the the lower class is able to get through university again, or you don’t fix your problems.

For the same reasons you must fix education at the primary and secondary levels by removing it from the property tax base, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because oligopolies strangle innovation, produce inferior services and soak up oligopoly profits they haven’t earned break up your major oligopolies outside the banks, starting with the telecom companies, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because government is now a bidding operation in which monied interests buy the policies that are good for them and not for America you must fix campaign finance, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because a lopsided wealth and income distribution leads to deep social pathologies, reduction in real demand, short term risk taking and looting by the financial class and the destruction of functional democracy you must reinstitute steep progressive taxes on the 1950’s level, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because locking up more people per capita than any other nation in the world is massively economically inefficient and causes severe social pathologies you must break up the prison-industrial complex, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because police states are not efficient, and for the sake of your own souls, you must end the drug war and the paramilitarization of US police forces, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because real modern infrastructure is one of the keystones to economic growth and competitiveness you must build out proper transportation (high speed rail) and internet (cheap, un-metered high speed to every home) or you don’t fix your problems.

Because intellectual property laws are strangling rather than aiding innovation and are locking culture beind walls, you must reform reform your intellectual property laws, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because the US can’t afford to be wasting 6% of GDP, not insuring many of its people and getting awful results even for the insured, you must move to a rational form of comprehensive insurance like single payer, or you don’t fix your problems.

Because the US and many other countries in the world cannot flourish in a world trade system which allows massive trade and money flow deficits, the world trade system, and most especially the free movement of money needs to be heavily reformed, starting with a Tobin/Pigou tax which scales the cost of currency changes to carbon output, or you don’t fix your problems.

And, sadly, this is a partial list.

Which is to say, the problem in the US right now is that virtually nothing of any significance works. Not the military, who with 50% of the world military budget is being fought to a draw by ragtag militias, not the political system, and definitely not the economic system.

Fixing this, fixing America, is a literally monumental task, like building pyramids. It will take a generation, perhaps two, of very committed people.

I fear that those people don’t exist in large enough numbers, at least not in any position of power or able to seize power.

I hope Americans prove me wrong.


Paul Craig Roberts Speaks For Me


The best article on America’s Elite


  1. I know these ideas are quietest, but is power really there to be seized?

  2. I’d love to be able to prove you wrong. Unfortunately, except for the first two items, and maybe health care, I really don’t see a widespread realization among Americans that these are problems. Without that, it’s hard to imagine that anything will be done. As we’ve seen with health care, even when there is such a realization it’s close to impossible.

  3. jumpjet

    Eh, we’ve faced worse.

  4. Ian Welsh

    Other than the civil war and arguably the war of independence, no, I don’t think you have.

  5. Lori

    I think a majority of Americans would love to fix those things. People love being given the opportunity to rise to the occasion and they will do it where they can. But none of this can get fixed with the media that we have dominating our cultural discourse in the way that they do. The media is brilliant at introducing and validating cynicism about the change that needs to happen. And they simply hammer enough people into paralysis that nothing moves forward. It only takes one car stuck in an intersection when a light has changed to create gridlock in a downtown area. It only takes a handful of people showing up at town halls and screaming to shut the dialogue down. And when they shut it down, like successful bullies everywhere, they are validated. And the impact of their actions ripple out from there.

    I’m taking Lambert’s advice very seriously but I’m also really looking to move. I think we’re done for.

  6. jumpjet

    Ah, but you DO admit we’ve faced worse. There’s nothing more American than overcoming long odds.

    And what’s with this ‘you’ business? Have you abandoned us already?

  7. Stormcrow

    You cannot “fix” a structural problem by a single reform or a sequence of them. You must reduce a structurally broken system to pieces on the floor and then rebuild it from scratch. Revolution or bust.

    Ian, I cannot think of a single nation in all of recorded history that has ever applied the results of observation and rational thought to even a single structural crisis in its own self-governance.

    Let alone a swarm of them.

    One of two things happens to nation whose polities posses embedded structural flaws serious enough to render them severely dysfunctional.

    Either they muddle through, usually thanks to a major unforeseen event which completely rewrites the rules of the game, or they collapse.

    With America, I’m thinking collapse.

  8. Ian Welsh

    I’m a Canadian, not an American. So yes, it’s “you”.

    What long odds? The civil war may have killed more people, but the odds were strongly on the Union side to win.

    The odds now are far longer than then. It was a worse crisis in the sense that more people died, is all.

    And I bet on nations in their prime, still rising, far more than a bet on nations in decline. The US was not in decline in either of those cases.

  9. Ian Welsh

    Stormcrow: you need a critique in place so that when the break point happens, the right things are done.

  10. Stormcrow

    I certainly won’t argue against your critique, because I agree with almost all of it.

    But I will and do question its immediate usefulness to us, when the final crisis hits. Whatever form it takes. Events in an unfolding collapse happen so fast and so unpredictably that the people on the spot rarely even have time to compose themselves, let alone apply critiques of a nature, and from a source, which they always discounted from unconscious trained-in habit.

    Critiques typically end up being most useful to successor civilizations. If there are any.

    The European nation-states of the 17’th century understood the requirement to subordinate military authority to civil authority in a way no 5’th Century Roman could comprehend.

    And Americans certainly do.

    But no critique could have helped the Romans through their 5’th Century crisis. Nothing could; they were flat out of options. Those had effectively vanished when they managed to adapt, at enormous internal cost, to the eruption of Sassanid Persia. The next major prolonged volkerwanderung would sink them if they made any serious mistakes at all. Plain and simple.

    It was both major and prolonged. And they did make that error, and compounded it almost immediately. What happened over the next century wasn’t even going to slow down very much, barring a miracle, until they were gone. And their civilization with them.

  11. someofparts

    I just popped over to Amazon to get the Kevin Phillips title you mentioned and wow is it ever cheap if I get a used copy. It strikes me as too sad and too predictable that one of Phillps’ important books would be going at fire sale prices in the U.S. If his work sold as briskly as the latest Disney nonsense, I guess we would be … more like Canada? still have a banking system? Only in my most self-indulgent dreams I guess.

  12. anonymous

    I think the list needs to be prioritzed. *Cheap and unmetered* high speed internet, I think, doesn’t merit the same consideration as our destructive military spending. And campaign finance reform isn’t even possible now, short of a consitutional amendment, due to the supreme court. And that is really the first thing that has to happen; reforming the constition to make our goverment actually democratic and represntative, before any of the other things can be addressed.

    I think if you could do that, all the rest would be at least feasable. Until then, very little of it is possible (maybe energy independence, if someone, not necessarily in the US, finds some alternative to oil). But Obama and the other Vichy Dems represent the power of the status quo. Until the status quo falls apart, I doubt well see anything but descent into police/military 2nd world power, like Russia used to be.

  13. rumor

    I walked through this list and tried to apply it to Canada – not to discount the US, because where the US goes, goes Canada in a broad sense, and usually 3-5 years later – but it seems like we’re hitting about half of the cylinders here. Obviously we have single payor health insurance, although parts of it have been whittled away and there seems to be very little success at rationally improving efficiency of services in a way that would ease the cost burdens, but hey, we’re way ahead of the US at least.

    We don’t have quite the police state/incarceration problem, although the war on drugs is terribly wasteful and oppressive and, god knows, if our federal gov’t keeps getting its way, we’ll be fully comparable to the US in a few more years.

    The banks are lending, *now*, but I suspect by the end of this year the story will be quite different. Our big 5 have always been too big to fail, and I wonder where that puts us, really. I am very skeptical of their health and am waiting to see what shakes out when the housing bubble pops here… CMHC looms large in the whole picture.

    Our education picture could be a lot better, but again, I guess it’s not as bad as the US. That doesn’t mean it’s good. And post-secondary debt has already passed the unsustainable level, I suspect, where it’s becoming a serious drag on the economy, and another aspect of the looming debt crash Canadians are about to face.

    Oligopolies, Canada seems to love ’em.

    IP, we’re about on the same page, I’d say, with minor differences like the DMCA. I don’t think the overall picture is much different.

    Infrastructure: Ha Ha Ha. If we *ever* get a functioning, affordable passenger rail system in this country, I will eat my hat. I’m not sure it’s even economically possible with significant subsidies, at least not until cheap, short-distance air travel utterly collapses and peak oil kicks our ass in petrol prices, at which point we may be willing to subsidise it a lot more.

    Progressive taxation, removal of regressive taxation, we’re still in the same overton window as the US. Again, slightly less severe than the US, but certainly of the same character. We need 50’s era progressive taxation back too, as far as I’m concerned.

    Scaling the cost of currency changes to carbon output is something I’m not well versed in yet, but I assume it would have to apply globally anyway, and we as much as any other country need to eventually bring our monetary system in line with limits to growth. I’m happy with the idea of carbon tariffs on imports, presuming other countries would do the same to us.

    So that’s about where I see it, off the top of my head, for Canada.

  14. Celsius 233

    @ rumor;

    You’re very much in line with U.S. repressive policies regarding American reporters/commenter’s reporting on your Olympic games. Very repressive stuff going on there.
    If I didn’t know better; I’d think you guys were us.

  15. rumor

    Oh Christ Almighty, don’t get me started on the bloody olympics…

  16. I know it’s not exciting… But every single one of the quietist measures I’m suggesting make both individuals and communities more resilient. We have to have enough people left standing when the tsunami hits to implement the critique, yes?

  17. I’m thinking of one continental-scale civilization that has continually reinvented itself, and for thousands of years. That would be China. The problems we face are as nothing compared to, say, China in the time of the warring states. I think Ian’s right that nothing works. And the amazing thing is that at the same time “nothing works” nobody “has work.” We need, as it were, not pitchforks but shovels…

  18. rumor

    That’s good, simple advice, Lambert. I see your suggestions and raise you this set of preparations!

  19. TdRaicer

    We have to fix ALL those problems to be the ideal Leftist Utopia we never were and are never going to be. To avoid collapse, we only need to fix a few-the problem will be prioritizing and getting a movement together that can agree on those priorities.

    Of course the largest threat is Global Warming, which may well make all these other problem irrelevant. But’s that another story…

  20. alyosha

    I’m with Lori, above. None of these problems, however systemic, would be so insurmountable were it not for the fact that it is so damned difficult to have an honest conversation about them. Those who control a nation’s stories control the nation – this was learned a few decades back by the right when they built their own media infrastructure and changed the ownership laws so that media is now extremely consolidated into a few hands. I think Thomas Jefferson said that information is the lifeblood of a democracy – well we’re starved for real information here, it’s choked out by massive amounts of noise, distractions, and disinformation.

    The very language to talk with each other about these problems has been systematically destroyed – words like “liberal”, “class warfare” and many others have all been demonized or twisted 180 degrees in meaning. Thank God we have Orwell to teach us about this. Dave Niewert’s classic “Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An Exegesis” goes into detail about this. And so, partically robbed of our language, of our ability to connect with each other about these things, we wander around isolated and disempowered, knowing something is wrong, but unable to focus or talk about the real issues. The oligarchs then use their media tools to redirect our attention to distract us.

    Were it not for the internet, and for blogs like this, the US would resemble a softer form of the Soviet Union in terms of propaganda. We don’t have the thought police taking people off to the gulags yet, but high on your list of “what’s wrong” has to be a media that doesn’t inform much less challenge, it actively keeps everyone and everything in place.

  21. There are things our friends abroad could do to help us.

  22. Brilliant summation. Deserves to be widely read.

  23. Jim

    So, the law of gravity only applies to the United States?

  24. b.

    “I’m thinking of one continental-scale civilization that has continually reinvented itself, and for thousands of years. That would be China. The problems we face are as nothing compared to, say, China in the time of the warring states.”

    Not to propose a “Green Lantern Theory”, but yes, it would seem that the USA has all the necessary resources at its exposure, except commen sense, decency, and will. I forgot who wrote the short story (Sturgeon or Pohl), but the overstretched adage that “as a species, we have no real problems, except for the complicated games we play with ourselves” certainly applies to the USA, a nation built upon pillage and plunder like no other.

    I do not profess to understand China, and I am not sure the warring states qualify as a non-revolutionary example of systemic change. I am skeptical of the ability of any form of government or society to avoid ultimate deterioration – slow or rapid – to the point of collapse deferred only by authoritarian necrosis. But I do agree that the history – and size – of China is intriguing. For example, I am still puzzled by this – how it happend, why it ended:

    US published opinion seems to enjoy exaggerating the likelihood of China’s impending collapse even more than they depend on denying their own, but if China holds together, the 21st century will be theirs.

  25. Maybe I’m just too pessimistic lately, dcblogger, but I don’t see your list happening any more than Ian’s. There’s too much immediate self-interest in other countries continuing to allow things to be as they are. There are lots of foreigners who understand the dangers of an unstable, undemocratic U.S., but are there enough who are willing to risk economic difficulties or loss of office?

    Which isn’t to say that it’s not a good list. It is a good list, as is Ian’s.

  26. BC Nurse Prof

    Here’s a good look at the future, from Pulitzer Prize winning author Chris Hedges:

    And because I love Ad Busters.

  27. For me, the problem begins and ends with labour arbitrage/free trade/whatever. Yes, there are a bunch of other problems, but ensure that Americans remain employed and the rest will solve itself, and there’s no way to do that if it’s easier to ship pretty much any American job to a place where it is cheaper.

    Economies must not be larger than the democracies that contain them.

  28. I for one prefer to succumb to magical thinking rather than learned helplessness, the latter of which I have been frequently accused, of course. However, I think it’s silly to keep searching for that One Special Trend, or One Perfect Plan to lead us all to the promised land. If it comes, it will emerge on its own and very suddenly.

  29. tjfxh

    Good list, but it leaves out the point that most people believe erroneously that there is no money to pay for the necessary fixes, and that progressives have not been meeting this faux objection well enough to overcome it.

    Randy Wray has a post on the economics of a progressive fix here.

  30. Compound F

    Can I re-post this elsewhere in full (with attribution and link, of course)?

  31. tjfxh

    If it comes, it will emerge on its own and very suddenly.

    The big question is whether it will come before or after the US implodes in the final stage of Reaganism, now being taken the the extreme of Ayn Rand-ism. All indications are that the US will have to go through a trial by fire.

  32. Celsius 233

    @ BC Nurse Prof;

    Thanks for the link. And the new (to me) site.
    Hedges is the bees knees when it comes to saying it like it is.

  33. BC Nurse Prof

    @ Celsius 233:

    The magazine version of Ad Busters began in Vancouver BC and is still published here, in addition to an American version. Very radical. Very insightful. I routinely tear out pages and put them on my office door.

    I looked in the usual places to see where Hedges’ piece first appeared and didn’t come up with anything. It may actually be that he wrote it for Ad Busters.

  34. By the way, the title of this post reminds me of “To Serve Man”.

  35. I generally agree. I wonder if the Canadians aren’t headed in the same direction, though. I note the manner in which Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was detained at the Canadian border, apparently because they were afraid she was there to aid in dissent against, of all things, the Olympics. This is peculiar behavior for an ostensibly progressive government, and frightening because it was probably initiated, along with worse acts of storm trooper-ism, by the whims of a large organization that is able to throw around a lot of money, namely the Olympic Committee, to which the government apparently knuckled right under. So, criticisms well taken, Mr. Welsh, but let’s not act too superior or secure in bandying about the word “you”. Unfortunately, the influence of “our” bad behavior is spreading, as a sort of twisted role model for other societies, who had also better wake up quickly to avoid or correct the same mistakes. Yes, “we’re” probably still the furthest down the road to perdition… The real culprit, I think, is corporatism, aided both by politicians and by ordinary citizens, all desperate to gain or hold on to their little “piece of the rock” in the face of increasing consolidation of wealth in a world of greater and greater population and fewer resources to sustain it. You have given an excellent summary of the consequences and challenges of this lemming-like behavior, as we all charge down a vicious spiral instead of merely off of a cliff…

  36. Ian Welsh

    I was talking about America, so the use of You was entirely appropriate.

    Canada is heading in the same direction, but we aren’t starting from as bad a condition. And Canada’s government is not progressive, it quite specifically, right now, not progressive.

    Elites in every part of the Western world are incompetent, venal, corrupt and suffering from a peculiar type of learned helplessness along with a refusal to hold themselves to account for almost any form of criminality or incompetence.

    It’s just that American elites are probably the worst in the Western world, because they had far more fat to live off of and fight over, so they could get away with more venality and incompetence for longer.

    Within the next couple years, if I stay involved in this sort of thing, I will probably turn my attention to Canada. America is, sadly, a write off. It may still be possible to mitigate the damage in Canada. We won’t avoid it, but we may be able to avoid the very worst of it if we get our act together.

  37. I think we mostly agree… Keep up the good work! Don’t know if the world can afford to “write off” America, though. Obama may not be all he was cracked up to me, but at least he might present a significant opportunity for improved international engagement with the United States, if we can get established world leaders (and influential Americans) to “lean” on him and insist on the kinds of things that you’re saying. He’s a brilliant man, but I do think he’s a little bewildered at the chaos he’s stepped into, and many of the wrong people are whispering in his ear.

  38. “There’s nothing more American than overcoming long odds.” Please don’t fall into the ‘exceptionalism’ trap. Jefferson, Madison and Franklin are long dead. That we’ve risen to the occasion in several extreme circumstances since overlooks both the deadly failures and the benefit of luck. (In the latter case, consider how things would be had Hitler succeeded in the race to split the atom. Luck.)

    It is depressing to consider all the fixes necessary and the hard path to any one of them, never mind all. But the real key, I think, is to view these woes like a substance abuser learns how to recover: one step at a time.

    The laws of physics mean stopping the momentum of 308 million people to redirect it makes us each powerless. So look closer. How’s your next door neighbor doing? The folks down the block? Start helping them, if they’ll accept it. Maybe they need home repair, help with babysitting, help writing a resume, maybe the neighborhood has a problem with vandalism.

    It’s numerous small acts of consideration that build trust, cooperation, communication. It is slow work, a lifelong commitment, with the fruits possibly coming after our lives have ceased. So what? Somebody have another way?

    The liberal agenda always seems to be ‘fix what the Rightists have fucked up’, and it seems we’re losing ground perpetually. Helplessness is not an option. Ineffectiveness is only a temporary situation on the way to effectiveness.

    When the WWW came along, I thought it’d be great if citizens around the globe, via direct communications, could bypass their governments and cooperate to get things done. For one thing, we could agree not to war with each other and reject governments that try to compel war. Idealistic? Sure. Today. But tomorrow, it could happen still. We simply have to innovate, and find the way.

    In the meantime, we still must go on, trying to fix what’s close and build the movement of neighborliness into a global effort.

    When the snows shut down DC, a social network call (on FB or Twitter) ultimately turned out about 1,000 people for a massive snowball fight. Can’t we generate a similar group to meet the neighborhood needs, within a few hours? Yes. Of course.

    And don’t overlook the spirit of that snowball fight. It’s human nature to want to have fun. Some of that neighborhood fixing needs to include just-for-fun things, too. I think Pete Seeger’s life has been an excellent model we should consider emulating. He didn’t spend time running around calling rightists “retards” or ‘asshats’ or whatever. People would come to listen. Pete would get them to sing. Once a crowd sings together, they’re more likely to work together, inspiring and motivating each other. And singing together more, as well.

    These ways, we don’t have to reach agreement that one or two or three Great Problems require our attention FIRST. It’s the little problems, right next door, that require our CONSTANT attention. Upon those millions of little successes, confidence and compassion multiply.

    I don’t mean to sound like an affirmation freak or overly ideal. Failures will also occur. But the momentum of the bigger problems will be slowed, and eventually, may be stopped then reversed.

    It certainly beats the hell out of handwringing and surrendering to the ‘we’re doomed’ mantra.

    So what do you plan to do nearby this week?

  39. Ian Welsh

    There’s also nothing more Russian than overcoming even longer odds.
    There’s also nothing more British than overcoming long odds.
    And once upon a time there was nothing more Spanish or Roman than overcoming long odds.

    Every great nation is exceptional.

    Until it isn’t.

  40. Tom Robinson

    Ian, do we (the US) need to break up our banks, or regulate them more thoughtfully and more tightly? Canada only has a few banks (and they’ve been large and omnipresent for decades), but my take is Canadian banks didn’t bring on the kinds of problems that American banks did, because Canadian regulations wouldn’t allow it.

  41. Tom Robinson

    And on high-speed rail, really large nations (in landmass) like Canada, US, Russia, China, Brazil, Australia, can not afford cross-country networks so much as key regional networks. The Obama administration has laid out a comprehensive strategy on this for various regional corridors, and started funding them. The US is behind most industrial countries on this, but has started to move. The opposing inertia from the right, of course, is trying to kill it.

    But the financial justification for building high-speed rail from Vancouver to Winnipeg, or Seattle to Chicago, is not there. Portland-Seattle-Vancouver or Minneapolis-Chicago-Detroit-Toronto-Montreal-New York? Sure.

  42. derek

    uh, wow. very interesting post. two things I noticed, while reading this:

    1) You’re very, very liberal (proud to be a communist?)
    2) You don’t really understand economics, or how the world works.

    here’s my answer to your fixes:

    1) it was largely Chinese subsidies of oil consumption that led to rising oil prices, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that the vast majority of the oil in the world is controlled my governments. they need to use it to buy votes via social services, and therefore to not invest in additional production capacity, or upkeep. most of these oil fields were built by private companies, then stolen–sorry, “nationalized” by governments. if you really want to solve oil prices, we need to privitise the fields, but I’ll look for a post of yours that addresses just this.

    2) this would have happened on it’s own if we had not bailed out the banks. We don’t need to force it, we just need to stop socializing the losses.

    3) AT LEAST three quarters is right!

    4) You’re confusing “education” with “schooling.” we certainly don’t need to spend the kind of money we’re spending to get thousands of 22 year old english or black history majors. we already over value college degrees. we need individuals to be educated in things that make sense.

    5) I agree that we should fix the k-12 school system. Let’s use a model that already works in LA, Washington DC, and dozens of other cities: introduce competition into the mix. Teacher’s unions certainly have a stranglehold now, but that don’t always have to.

    6) I’m not sure what you’re referring to as an “oligopoly.” We have large companies, but nothing, to my knowledge, has qualified as what we considered an oligopoly in my econ classes.

    7) The real problem is not campaign finance reform. No matter what we do, special interests are going to control the government. If we truly want freedom, we need to take power away from the government.

    8) None of these assertions are true. Would you mind providing any evidence? Considering that the top 60% of income earners already pay 100% of income tax, I’m really fearful as to what a steeper progression would look like.

    9) The biggest fix on the prison industrial complex would be simply ending the war on drugs. Do we really need to lock up non-violent people for possession of a plant?

    10) We agree on the police state thing, too.

    11) Actually, as we have seen with nearly every attempt at this, high speed rail and subsidies for the internet actually destroy wealth and make us worse off.

    12) The “wasting GDP by not spending” argument doesn’t make sense to me. But medical care, like every other product, will become cheaper and better as we give individuals more control over their own decisions. Giving it to government will only make it worse. Think DMV, Social Security, anything else. Even India has free market healthcare and schools, and they both do better than the government ones.

    13) You understand that this tax will cancel out, or make worse, the problems you try to solve in your first point? Europe has a 100% gas tax, and it has had very little effect. We’d be talking a tax of $5-10+ per gallon of gas. Offsetting this by a cut in income or payroll taxes would leave close to the same standard of living, while discouraging CO2 creation. Certainly not perfect, but much, much better than any of the other plans being proposed.

    It makes sense to me that Krugman doesn’t have the answers. He’s had to forget so much about economics to get so far as a political hack. These guys have some answers:

  43. Ian Welsh

    Let me lay it out. I predicted both what happened with oil, and what happened with the markets and banks and I did so in advance.

    My predictions are far more often right than wrong.

    Since the vast majority of economists got this stuff all wrong, in advance (as opposed to in the rearview mirror) you’ll excuse me if I don’t kowtow to the fact you’ve taken a few econ classes. Take a few more. Then take some courses in sociology, anthropology and history.

    You’ve got a few things right and more things wrong, and assume that because I didn’t write a book explaining every point that I don’t understand what and why I’m writing what I wrote.

    Since explaining in detail everything you’re mistaken about would take many thousands of words and then you’d be unable get past your ideological blinkers to understand it, I’ll leave it at that. You’re young, have taken a few econ classes, and think you know how the world works. I don’t know if you’re a sophomore, but you’re sure acting like one. (And you’re an idiot about income taxes. Every time someone acts as if income tax is the only tax and acts as if the 50s and 60s didn’t happen (and that the Nordic countries don’t exist), I know they’ve blinded themselves for ideological reasons.)

    As for Krugman, he’s forgotten more economics than you’ll ever know.

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