Friday, August 6, 2010

economic possibilities for our great-great-great-grandchildren?

My jaw dropped when I read this Krugman post from earlier today:

Christie Romer is something of an expert on the Depression. She wrote her dissertation on it. Here is some insider info about the debates circling policy circles at the time of the ARRA, a quote from the above link I found particularly astounding. But really, anyone interested in the historical connections here needs to read the above link:
There were sound arguments why the $1.2-trillion figure was too high. First, Emanuel and the legislative-affairs team thought that it would be impossible to move legislation of that size, and dismissed the idea out of hand. Congress was “a big constraint,” Axelrod said. “If we asked for $1.2 trillion, it probably would have created such a case of sticker shock that the system would have locked up there.” He pointed east, toward Capitol Hill. “And the world was watching us, the market was watching us. If we failed to produce a stimulus bill, that in and of itself could have had deleterious effects.”
Really, really? Are we "all Keynesians now"? Or has something fundamental to American capitalism changed in the last 20 or 30 years to cause this sort of these baseless claims for "rapid reform" and "fiscal austerity", terrible politicking? And what about the simple fact that nobody thought to consider the historical evidence seriously? I guess I shouldn't be surprised on that point, but if an expert on the GD is telling you to do something...

NYTimes articles from the 1930s, speeches from Hoover and other naysayers. decried Roosevelt as a socialist, suggesting readers "look over to Russia" for a comparable figure of pro-government might. And the guy STILL had remarkable support, across the board, in all three depression-era elections.


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