Hubris Is Alive and Well
Sep15

Hubris Is Alive and Well

Some economists saw the Great Recession coming. Certainly Robert Reich did. But, as Paul Krugman writes in this morning’s New York Times, an army of economists missed the boat. They did so for a number of reasons: Clearly, economics as a discipline went badly astray in the years — actually decades — leading up to the crisis. But the failings of economics were greatly aggravated by the sins of economists, who far too often let...

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Is “Trickle Up” Back?
Aug09

Is “Trickle Up” Back?

On Thursday, Paul Krugman wrote that evidence is mounting to support the notion that inequality can sabotage a market economy. There will always be some inequality in market economies. But gross inequality is a drag on economic growth: It’s true that market economies need a certain amount of inequality to function. But American inequality has become so extreme that it’s inflicting a lot of economic damage. And this, in turn, implies...

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The Politics Of Resentment
Jun15

The Politics Of Resentment

Doug Saunders writes, in the Globe and Mail, that the politics of resentment is tearing modern conservatism asunder. The argument is about immigration; and it was apparent last week in Washington with the fall of Eric Cantor. There are now two distinct camps: One group: argues that immigrants tend to be natural conservatives: They’re more likely than other voters to be small businesspeople (so are fiscal conservatives), and to be...

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Listening To Suzuki
May18

Listening To Suzuki

Jeffrey Simpson wrote last week that the present Government of Canada defines itself by the enemies it makes: By identifying enemies or hostile institutions, or by picking fights with individuals or institutions, Mr. Harper can better galvanize his supporters. The idea of appealing to as many people as possible in the search for maximizing votes is not how he governs. Instead, he looks to his party’s core vote, tries to energize it as...

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The Price Of Conservatism
Mar10

The Price Of Conservatism

Robert Reich writes that, in the three decades after World War II, the United States created the largest middle class the world has ever seen: During those years the earnings of the typical American worker doubled, just as the size of the American economy doubled. (Over the last thirty years, by contrast, the size of the economy doubled again but the earnings of the typical American went nowhere.) In that earlier period, more than a...

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Not Seeing The Other Half
Feb16

Not Seeing The Other Half

For some time now, Robert Reich writes, the United States has been devolving into a We and Them Society — as in, Why should we pay for them? He sites several examples: The middle-class and wealthy citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, for example, are trying to secede from the school district they now share with poorer residents of town, and set up their own district funded by property taxes from their higher-valued...

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A War On The Poor
Jan13

A War On The Poor

As Republicans and Democrats argue about whether they should extend unemployment insurance to the long termed unemployed, Paul Krugman writes that the Republican argument is part of a war on the poor: Right now Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor, and they would have inflicted vast additional harm if they had won the 2012 election. Moreover, G.O.P. harshness toward the less fortunate isn’t just a matter of spite...

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Fifty Years Ago
Nov22

Fifty Years Ago

Fifty years ago, I was sitting in a high school geometry class in Montreal when the intercom came on, piping in a live radio report that John F. Kennedy had been shot. The same thing had happened a little more than a year before, when the intercom and radio informed us that Russian warships had turned back from Cuba. On that October day, I walked to the bus stop, not knowing if I would come home in the afternoon. But at least I had...

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A Rogue State?
Nov08

A Rogue State?

Noam Chomsky writes that the United States has become a one party nation and a rogue state: The U.S. is still a one-party state, the business party. But it only has one faction: moderate Republicans, now called New Democrats (as the U.S. Congressional coalition styles itself). There is still a Republican organization, but it long ago abandoned any pretense of being a normal parliamentary party. Conservative commentator Norman Ornstein...

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Running Scared
Oct07

Running Scared

It’s clear now that Republicans are trying to upend the constitution by nullifying both an election and a Supreme Court ruling. Joshua Holland writes that, to understand what is behind their quest, you have to understand the Republican base — which is composed of three distinct segments: Democracy Corps – a Democratic-leaning polling firm – released a study this week based on a series of focus groups they conducted with...

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On His Own Little Planet
Sep27

On His Own Little Planet

If you were hoping that Stephen Harper was re-evaluating his approach to people — particularly Barack Obama — yesterday should have dashed that hope. Speaking before the Canadian American Business Council, the prime minister said that, on the Keystone Pipeline file, he wouldn’t take no for an answer: The logic in support of the project going ahead is “overwhelming,” and governments at all levels on both...

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No Simple Answers
Aug31

No Simple Answers

The United States and France appear ready to attack Syria. If that happens, Iran says it is ready to attack Israel. And Israel has atomic weapons. Bob Rae wrote this week that: A couple of years ago I had the chance to meet Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres, Israel’s prime minister and president, respectively, in separate meetings. The subject was Iran. For Mr. Netanyahu, the issue was clear: Iran is arming itself with a nuclear...

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The Founding Fathers Would Weep
Aug22

The Founding Fathers Would Weep

Chris Hedges writes that, with the sentencing of Bradley Manning, the United States is now a penal colony: There are strict rules now in our American penal colony. If we remain supine, if we permit ourselves to be passively stripped of all political power and voice, if we refuse to resist as we are incrementally reduced to poverty and the natural world is senselessly exploited and destroyed by corporate oligarchs, we will have the...

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Republican Delusions
Aug06

Republican Delusions

Paul Krugman wrote in yesterday’s New York Times that the Republican Party is fleeing from reality: Last week House Republicans voted for the 40th time to repeal Obamacare. Like the previous 39 votes, this action will have no effect whatsoever. But it was a stand-in for what Republicans really want to do: repeal reality, and the laws of arithmetic in particular. The sad truth is that the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable...

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Pulling Apart
Jul23

Pulling Apart

For those who view economics as a morality play, Detroit’s bankruptcy is another example of an economic sinner in the hands of an angry god. For those who view economics as a Darwinian test of survival, Detroit is just another species that didn’t make the cut. The truth is that Detroit illustrates the consequences of the economic policies of the last thirty-five years. For the city — like the American middle class...

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On Board The Pequod
Jul10

On Board The Pequod

For me, there are two quintessential American novels. Huck Finn is about the American heart. Moby Dick is about the American soul. It is perhaps no accident, then, that Chris Hedges — whose subject is the tortured American soul — wrote this week that,”We are all aboard the Pequod.” For Hedges, if the American ship of state continues on its present course, the result will be catastrophe, not just for the nation,...

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Education Isn’t Enough Anymore
Jun16

Education Isn’t Enough Anymore

On Friday, Paul Krugman wrote that the technological revolution is leaving even some of the well educated behind: Today, however, a much darker picture of the effects of technology on labor is emerging. In this picture, highly educated workers are as likely as less educated workers to find themselves displaced and devalued, and pushing for more education may create as many problems as it solves. I’ve noted before that the nature of...

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Stiglitz On Higher Education
May13

Stiglitz On Higher Education

Joseph Stiglitz writes in this morning’s New York Times that, just as America is beginning to recover from the crisis which rocked the world financial system, another storm is about to hit: The crisis that is about to break out involves student debt and how we finance higher education. Like the housing crisis that preceded it, this crisis is intimately connected to America’s soaring inequality, and how, as Americans on the...

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Permanently Unemployed
Apr22

Permanently Unemployed

Paul Krugman writes in The New York Times that America is creating a new social class — the permanently unemployed: Now, some unemployment is inevitable in an ever-changing economy. Modern America tends to have an unemployment rate of 5 percent or more even in good times. In these good times, however, spells of unemployment are typically brief. Back in 2007 there were about seven million unemployed Americans — but only a small...

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Stockman’s Nightmare
Apr01

Stockman’s Nightmare

David Stockman is in the Slough of Despond. Writing in this weekend’s New York Times, Ronald Reagan’s former budget chief argued that it was Sundown in America: So the Main Street economy is failing while Washington is piling a soaring debt burden on our descendants, unable to rein in either the warfare state or the welfare state or raise the taxes needed to pay the nation’s bills. By default, the Fed has resorted to a...

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