Politics: 1 October 2010

My third calendar month of doing this thing.

Polly Wanna a Good Economy?

J. Bradford DeLong has written a really good article Economics for Parrots on Project Syndicate. In it, he attacks the idea that we are seeing more and more: high unemployment is structural. By this, people mean there isn’t unemployment because everyone is afraid and won’t spend and thus there is low demand. No. These people claim that there are plenty of jobs out there: it is just that the current workforce doesn’t have the right skills or aren’t willing to move to the right places (like Nebraska). Dr. DeLong obliterates this argument, showing that a parrot trained to say, “Supply and demand! Supply and demand!” is a better economist than these fools.

You see, the point of all this “structural unemployment” business is a way for these people to say that the government doesn’t need to do anything. It is the only reasonable-sounding argument that people can make against stimulus spending. And I do mean “reasonable-sounding” because the arguments are not reasonable at all. I believe these people don’t want anything done, because any kind effective measures taken by the legislature or the Fed will naturally cause inflation to rise. That is the last thing millionaires and billionaires want. (Well, maybe the second to last thing Meg Whitman wants.)

The End of The Shock Doctrine

I finished The Shock Doctrine today. I was particularly struck by a small part in the conclusion where Klein is quoting an editor of a Spanish newspaper: “‘In every act, in every gesture, in every sentence, Aznar told the people he was right. That he was the owner of the truth, and those who disagreed with him were his enemies.’ In other words, the very same qualities that Americans identified as strong leadership in their president after September 11th, were, in Spain, regarded as ominous signs of a rising facism.” Yep.

Meg Whitman

I more or less believe Whitman about the housekeeper thing. I’ll bet her husband got the initial letter, hoped it was nothing, and gave it to the housekeeper to work out. (The issue about possible future letters is more troubling.) What is bad about this situation is how it shows Whitman and husband to be above such matters. “Oh, you take care of this! I’m too important.” It also shows Whitman to be a hypocrite, but not in the way most people think. Her statements about the housekeeper being “part of the family” are shown to be hollow. She was “part of the family” for nine years and Whitman never learned that she was undocumented? She wasn’t part of the family. She was part of the staff: one of many people Whitman employed to do her dirty work.