Sunday, December 13, 2009

What to Do on a Rainy Sunday

You could sleep in and remain stupid but refreshed. Or, you could (at last!) understand what's been happening with our political economy by reading Matt Taibbi's superb piece about --

The president has packed his economic team with
Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into
an all-out giveaway

"And there's more....!" as the hucksters like to say on late night Tee-Vee. Namely, the criticisms of Taibbi's article by Tim Fernholz. About Fernholz, it should be said that he can't plug in a keyboard for Taibbi's word processor. He authored a goofy, boring, and completely unconvincing attempt to refute Taibbi's criticisms:

Even the fact-checkers at Reuters find Fernholz' article "weaker than it looks." Fernholz' article, however, has had the welcome result of attracting even more readers to Taibbi's piece -- and giving him the opportunity for a second swipe --

Taibbi ends the present exchange with this:

It is my job to point out that many of the same people who bear direct responsibility for the financial crisis were given positions of great power in the Obama White House, and that in many important ways the Obama appointments represented a resounding reaffirmation of the status quo (I didn’t even mention the renomination of Ben Bernanke), and the exact opposite of “change.” One can argue about the extent to which this is true, but I don’t think the facts are really in question.

One cannot read all four of these articles without concluding, among other things, that the Teabagger crowd and today's Republican Party really are missing the boat. Obama is a smart guy, no question about that. But liberal? Not when it comes to economics. Outside the Beltway, he looks suspiciously like a captive of Wall Street bankers, being held for a ransom roughly equivalent to the nation's GDP.

Certainly, Bush and the G.O.P. brought this financial crisis on us, themselves, by sinking to their knees and enacting every greedy bit of Wall Street friendly legislation they could think of to spur the speculators on -- after first showering them with budget-busting tax breaks for the richest two percent of the nation. They can't blow the whistle, now, on Obama-the-Wall-Street-Enabler when they have so much guilty knowledge themselves.

But just imagine how it might have been if we still had the old Republican Party back -- the one from days of yore when it was home to such progressive voices as Ed Brooke, Jacob Javitts, Mark Hatfield, and (for awhile) Wayne Morse -- to mention just a few who would not be welcome in the G.O.P. today. Instead, the present-day Republican Party is uniformly reactionary, much smaller, and acting very stupidly.

If on this rainy day in Pensacola you'd like to take in a movie, consider this one: Matt Taibbi on Obama's Economy. You won't be any richer for it, but now you can know why.

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