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View Diary: Reply to Reinhart and Rogoff’s NYT Response to Critics (38 comments)

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  •  Piling on is a good thing in this case. Actually, (8+ / 0-)

    an excellent thing!

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:53:44 PM PDT

    •  I don't think (15+ / 0-)

      the full story's come out yet, even with all the piling on. What they did isn't only characteristic of them. It's the way things are done in economics these -- a pattern of practice like an attorney's advocacy, rather than like the scientific pattern of investigation, they like to claim they're following.

      •  I really liked your book, by the way. nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ek hornbeck, Calamity Jean

        Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

        by hestal on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 03:38:13 AM PDT

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        •  Thanks, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ek hornbeck

          I'm glad it worked for you. I figured the book would be hot because it's a solution to austerity. But surprisingly, its been moving slowly.

          •  I am surprised, and disappointed, to hear it. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ek hornbeck, Letsgetitdone

            I have been wondering about it. Do you have any clues as to why? I thought your book was well-written, well-organized and well-grounded.

            Since 2004 I have read perhaps 200 books on and around this general subject, and the most consistent, and most disappointing, characteristic is that they did not provide solutions. They all identified problems, and that is all to the good, but they just didn't provide the big finish.

            My mother used to say that there are four eternal questions: Where do we stand? How did we get here? Where do we want to go? How do we get there from here?

            Most books did well answering the first question, and sometimes they went overboard answering the second--they provided too much history. They would address the third question only by saying that the problems they had identified should be solved. And almost none of them addressed the fourth question. Those who made some effort fell far short of presenting a solid plan for going forward.

            Because of my mother's schooling I have worked very hard to answer all four of the questions in a book I finishing just now.

            Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann co-authored The Broken Branch which was about the problems in Congress. I think it was published in 2006. Their book does an excellent job of detailing the internal problems created for Congress by its own members. But it is practically devoid of ideas for improving the situation. I did find this quotation in an article in the Washington Post. Ornstein said:

            But ultimately, only a credible threat that the public is prepared to throw the rascals out will change the ways in which politicians in Washington operate.
            In 2012, they published a second book: It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics Of Extremism. In the new book, the authors said that they were worried when they finished The Broken Branch. They feared that Congress might get worse. They were right of course. They document the gridlock and sheer self-destruction that has marked Congress since the election of Barack Obama. They summarized this second book in an op-ed in the Washington Post, which they called, “Let’s Just Say It: the Republicans are the Problem.” They wrote:
            We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

            The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

            “Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

            In one chapter, Mann and Ornstein consider the usual ideas for improving things, and they conclude that they will not work. I agree with their conclusions. In the next two chapters they make several detailed suggestions of their own about how to repair our constitutional system. They make the following comment at the beginning of the second of these two chapters:
            We are tempted to think big when it comes to reforming political institutions, because the problems are so large and so vexing. But wholesale change in the political system is not possible and might not work. So in this chapter, we will focus on smaller ways to change American institutions to better fit the contemporary parties and political culture.
            They may be right. Big ideas may be impossible to implement. So they offer smaller ideas to tweak a system that is suffering from big problems. In my view, small ideas will not work, but big ideas, such as yours, will work.

            Also in 2012, Michael Lofgren published The Party is Over, How the Republicans went Crazy, Democrats became Useless, and the Middle Class got Shafted.

            At the end of his book, Lofgren suggests some ways that improvements can be made to our system, but, in my opinion, they are small ideas like those of Mann and Ornstein.

            Your ideas are big ideas, not because I think they would be difficult to implement, but because they would make important changes to our national economic systems.

            Maybe your book will catch fire. I hope so. I have grandchildren.

            Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

            by hestal on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 10:55:18 AM PDT

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            •  Thanks again, hestal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              My theory is that it's hard for books to sell w/o big publisher marketing in back of them. I think that books like mine can catch fire these days; but first word of mouth has to generate a tipping point in interest. If a new crisis occurs, where the platinum coin begins to get mentioned again with the same intensity as it was in late December and early January, then I think that tipping point may be reached.

      •  It reminds me of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ek hornbeck

        the real Bush doctrine of fixing the facts around the policy.  It is obvious to me that they started out with the result they wanted and worked backward from there.

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 11:35:20 AM PDT

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    •  Piling on is absolutely necessary (10+ / 0-)

      if there's to be any hope at all of influencing the President and his alies to abandon his current course toward a "grand bargain" and to push for job creation instead.  The only way he's going to give up his support for deficit reduction is if he comes to fear for his "legacy", and if there's one thing a second term president is concerned about it's his legacy.  He needs to worry about being blamed for continued millions of long-term unemployed, continued acceleration of income disparity, and continued increasing economic desperation for tens of millions caused by wholehearted embrace of R-R's now fully discredited study.

      "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

      by Involuntary Exile on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:50:59 PM PDT

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