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|Forget what you read in the newspapers about the “fiscal cliff.” The real showdown in Washington is not between Democrats and Republicans. It is the bizarre collision between self-righteous politicians of both parties promising to shrink government spending and raise taxes, while the supposedly independent and nonpartisan Federal Reserve pleads with them to stop before they totally wreck the economy. What threatens to take the country over the cliff is the political momentum of the establishment’s wrong-headed propaganda.
The mild-mannered Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is standing in the way, but nobody important seems to take him seriously. Though not given to inflammatory rhetoric, Bernanke is virtually standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, waving his arms and screaming at the lawmakers. Turn back! You are heading in the wrong direction. Don’t you understand? The real economic problem is not too much government debt. It is too few jobs!
This message was again delivered by the Federal Open Market Committee at its meeting this week when it formally declared job creation as its central objective. The Fed hopes to stimulate employment by keeping interest rates near zero and pumping many more billions into the economy—at least until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent. Fed officials, however, do not expect that to occur before the end of 2015.
Three more dreary years ahead, further weakening economic fiber and national spirit. The Fed chairman described the persistence of mass joblessness as “a waste of human and economic potential.” [...]
For now, the country is preoccupied with a phony crisis that might please some bookkeepers but will do nothing to jump-start a stronger recovery. The Obama administration has tried to have it both ways—devoting lots of political energy to the debt and deficit problem, not so much to the larger ailment of economic weakness. I think we are witnessing the hangover from thirty years of conservative idolatry—the political worship of so-called free markets and deregulation. Democrats are infected too—either afraid to propose aggressive measures or ignorant of what is possible in crisis. The bean counters are still in the saddle. They may be dislodged only if the country is driven into another bloody recession.
Where is big government when we need it?
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2005—Stuart Taylor's Credibility Gap on ScAlito:
|In the Bush Administration pushback on ScAlito (he has taken some major hits already), the "outside the White House" pushback is being led by Conservative shill Stuart Taylor (I use "shill" deliberately here because too many people want to treat Stuart Taylor as some nonpartisan. His dishonest work on Monicagate, when he failed to disclose his ties to Kenneth Starr tells you all you need to know about his credibility).
It is important to understand who and what Stuart Taylor is because I suspect he will be leading the Conservative charge on ScAlito in January. And what line is Taylor shilling now for the Wingnuts? That the "liberal media" is unfairly labeling ScAlito as a conservative ideologue with credibility problems.
Of course, coming from a shill like Taylor, the facts have little room in his argument.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, the Fiscal Thingy debate rages on, the House dithers, and Boehner negotiates for a caucus that might not even be on his side. Greg Dworkin on polling that says despite the pundits (again), the President really does have a mandate, while Gop voters won't give an inch, and a majority insists they must. The so-called "Right to Work" issue reminds us of the Newt Gingrich's Orwellian framing work. On filibuster reform, an open letter from academics, clarifying the constitutional grounds and Senate precedents for changing the rules by majority vote.