Monday, November 30, 2009

A Brave New America {in progress}

Paul Krugman pulls his punches. He writes in two Times pieces today, one on the op-ed page and the other on his Times blog, of the issues of unemployment, the Obama administration's failure to act and the elite's indifference to the suffering of many now that the Great Recession has officially been declared over.

Looking a year or two forward in his blog, Krugman writes,
[There] will be high unemployment leading into the 2010 elections, and corresponding Democratic losses. These losses will be worse because Obama, by pursuing a uniformly pro-banker policy without even a gesture to popular anger over the bailouts, has ceded populist energy to the right and demoralized the movement that brought him to power.
And from his Times op-ed essay,
You might think, then, that doing something about the employment situation would be a top policy priority. But now that total financial collapse has been averted, all the urgency seems to have vanished from policy discussion, replaced by a strange passivity. There’s a pervasive sense in Washington that nothing more can or should be done, that we should just wait for the economic recovery to trickle down to workers.
Not long ago, in an interview with Eliot Spitzer on Bill Maher's show, Krugman sounded far more pessimistic. "Sometimes I wake up and think I'm in a third world country." And "The American dream isn't dead, but it's dying pretty fast." And still more: "If the US was a third world country, the IMF and others would be saying, 'You have to get rid of your oligarchs.'"

Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert are the most critical — and incisive — voices on the Times op-ed page, but the Times still tones them down, I suspect.

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