Archive for January 5th, 2009

The Econ Version Of Global Warming

Is anyone else feeling a bit of… deja vu?

During a Christmas Eve appearance on Fox News, I pointed out that most mainstream economists believe the government must boost the economy with deficit spending. That’s when conservative pundit Monica Crowley said we should instead limit such spending because President Franklin Roosevelt’s “massive government intervention actually prolonged the Great Depression.” Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett eagerly concurred, saying “historians pretty much agree on that.”

Of course, I had recently heard snippets of this silly argument — right-wing pundits are repeating it everywhere these days. But I had never heard it articulated in such preposterous terms, so my initial reaction was paralysis — the mouth-agape, deer-in-the-headlights kind. Only after collecting myself did I say that such assertions about the New Deal were absurd. But then I was laughed at — as if it were hilarious to say that the New Deal did anything but exacerbate the Depression.

Afterwords, suffering pangs of self-doubt, I wondered whether I and most of the country are the crazy ones. Sure, the vast majority of Americans think the New Deal worked well. But are conservatives right? Did the New Deal’s “massive government intervention prolong the Great Depression?”

Ummm … no.

Upon deeper examination, I discovered that the right bases its New Deal revisionism on the short-lived recession in a year straddling 1937 and 1938. But that was four years into Roosevelt’s term — four years marked by spectacular economic growth. Additionally, the fleeting decline happened not because of the New Deal’s spending programs, but because Roosevelt momentarily listened to conservatives and backed off them. As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman notes, in 1937-38, FDR “was persuaded to balance the budget” and “cut spending and the economy went back down again.”

(…)

OK — if the verifiable evidence proves the New Deal did not prolong the Depression, what about historians — do they “pretty much agree” on the opposite?

Again, no.

As Newsweek’s Daniel Gross reports, “One would be very hard-pressed to find a serious professional historian who believes that the New Deal prolonged the Depression.”

So… conservative pundits are dead wrong about the facts, and are completely misrepresenting the scholarly consensus?  Does this sound uncannily familiar to anyone else?

2 comments January 5th, 2009 at 09:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Environment,Media,Politics,Republicans

Does The WaPo Want Something To Happen To Obama’s Kids?

I have no problem with a puff piece about the Obama girls’ first day of school, but is this level of detail really necessary?

Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, left the Hay-Adams Hotel with their mother, Michelle Obama, at 7:10 a.m. Their motorcade emerged from a security tent that has been erected outside the posh hotel, and they drove off with nary a wave to the throngs of cameras or the waiting crowds.

Malia, a fifth-grader, arrived at Sidwell’s middle school in the 3800 block of Wisconsin Avenue at 7:30 a.m., a full half-hour before the school day began. The motorcade bypassed the main entrance to the underground garage at Wisconsin Avenue and Rodman Street NW, opting instead for a side entrance adjacent to Fannie Mae’s James A. Johnson Housing and Community Development Center.

Whatever Michelle Obama did to settle Malia into her class, it didn’t take long. At 7:41, the motorcade exited another driveway slightly to the north, adjacent to the Friendship Post Office.

(…)

The youngest Obama had had a little more time than her sister to yawn away the Hawaii jet lag and Chicago time change. Sidwell’s lower school, located a few miles away on Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda, doesn’t ring the opening bell until 8:30. The Obamas arrived at 8 a.m., again plenty early, and the motorcade again used a side garage entrance, away from the rest of the drop-off crowd.

Sidwell’s campuses also stagger the end of the school day — middle school goes until 3:20 p.m., while lower school is dismissed at 3 — which means that the motorcade should have no problem whisking Sasha from Bethesda this afternoon in time to pick up Malia.

Can someone explain to me the journalistic rationale for providing precise times and locations for where the Obama girls enter and exit the school, or how the story would have suffered if it hadn’t practically drawn a map saying “Obama girls can be found here”?

This is really, really creepy and inappropriate, and truly terrible editorial judgment by a paper that should know better.  (Yes, I know I’m repeating it, but my readership is considerably less than the WaPo’s – and if you factor out comical Google searches, it’s almost nonexistent.)

(h/t The Littlest Gator)

2 comments January 5th, 2009 at 07:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Obama,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging – Post-It Edition

This is admittedly sponsored by ABC Family to promote Samurai Girl, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome:

Wow.

January 5th, 2009 at 11:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

No More Bushes Anymore

Mike Lupica has had enough Bushes, as have we all:

“I’d like to see [Jeb Bush] run,” the old man said on television Sunday. “I’d like to see him be President one day.”

(…)

One week it’s Dick Cheney trying to edit the last eight years in America, almost line by line. Then it’s Laura Bush, trying to be as good a wife as George H.W. Bush is a father. You half expect them to start buying time on television trying to still run George W. Bush for President as the rest of the country gets ready to kick him to the curb.

History, they all keep saying, will have a different view of the last eight years in America. Not without 3-D glasses it won’t – or several stiff drinks.

For now, it’s as if the Bush family has some sort of grading system that it uses and the rest of us don’t, one that enables the current President Bush to get to do some kind of victory lap around the White House grounds before Barack Obama gets inside to try to fix things, even though they’re so broken he’s probably going to need help from the Army Corps of Engineers.

You listen to the various defenses of Bush, not just from his family but from his loyalists and from the wing nuts of right-wing radio – the ones who want to blame this recession on Obama and sound as if they were dropped on their heads as babies – and you think there is one scorecard for them and one for the rest of us.

On their scorecard, they want to list all the countries that HAVEN’T been invaded on George W. Bush’s watch. They want to talk about all the big companies and banks that HAVEN’T failed. While a cynical media want to dwell on Scooter Libby, you keep waiting to hear about all the fine public servants in the current Bush administration who HAVEN’T been indicted, at least not yet.

This has been going on for a couple of weeks now and might not stop even after Barack Obama is sworn in. Now the head of the family is on television talking about Jeb Bush and making you want to hide under the bed at even the hint that what now passes for a political dynasty in this country might continue.

At least George H.W. Bush did offer this one small qualification as he talked about Jeb’s qualifications to be President someday.

“I mean, right now is probably a bad time,” the old man said.

You think?

There may come a time when the Bush family name is no longer so toxic as to make its bearers unelectable – after all, even Nixon became regarded as a statesman and a not-so-bad president in his later years.  But by that time, Jeb will be far, far too old to run, if he’s even still living.

January 5th, 2009 at 07:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush


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