Paul Krugman at The New York Times deplores politicians' Writing Off the Unemployed:
What do we know about long-term unemployment in America?E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post laments that An economic school has led to gridlock in Washington, one embraced by Ron Paul and others of that ilk who tout the views of two Austrian theorists as the antidote to our economic problems:
First, it’s still at near-record levels. Historically, the long-term unemployed — those out of work for 27 weeks or more—have usually been between 10 and 20 percent of total unemployment. Today the number is 35.8 percent. Yet extended unemployment benefits, which went into effect in 2008, have now been allowed to lapse. As a result, few of the long-term unemployed are receiving any kind of support.
Second, if you think the typical long-term unemployed American is one of Those People — nonwhite, poorly educated, etc. — you’re wrong, according to research by the Urban Institute’s Josh Mitchell. Half of the long-term unemployed are non-Hispanic whites. College graduates are less likely to lose their jobs than workers with less education, but once they do they are actually a bit more likely than others to join the ranks of the long-term unemployed. And workers over 45 are especially likely to spend a long time unemployed.
Third, in a weak job market long-term unemployment tends to be self-perpetuating, because employers in effect discriminate against the jobless. Many people have suspected that this was the case, and last year Rand Ghayad of Northeastern University provided a dramatic confirmation. He sent out thousands of fictitious résumés in response to job ads, and found that potential employers were drastically less likely to respond if the fictitious applicant had been out of work more than six months, even if he or she was better qualified than other applicants.
This is, indeed, an enormous change. When Nixon declared his allegiance to Keynesianism, he was reflecting an insight embraced across partisan lines. Government’s exertions, both during the New Deal and more completely during World War II, helped rescue the U.S. economy from depression.Paul Waldman at The American Prospect writes—Where the Heart Is: Should we care if a senator doesn't own a home in his home state?
Postwar Keynesian approaches, including the Marshall Plan, let loose an economic juggernaut across the Western world. Secular and Christian parties of the moderate right and social democratic parties of the moderate left created free societies and regulated market economies that delivered the goods — literally as well as figuratively — to tens of millions. (The actual country of Austria, by the way, largely ignored the “Austrian” economists and followed a similar path.)
Those who follow Hayek and Mises would have us forget this history or rewrite it beyond comprehension. They would also have us overlook that Hayek’s “own historical justification for apolitical market economics was entirely wrong,” as the late Tony Judt put it in “Thinking the Twentieth Century,” his extraordinary dialogue with his fellow historian Timothy Snyder, published in 2012, after Judt’s death.
Hayek believed, Judt said, that “if you begin with welfare policies of any sort — directing individuals, taxing for social ends, engineering the outcomes of market relationships — you will end up with Hitler.”
Today, The New York Times published a shocking revelation about Republican Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a man about whom I'm sure you've given barely a moment's thought in the three-plus decades he's been in Washington doing the people's business. Roberts, it seems, doesn't even own a home in the state he is so privileged to serve! Apparently, he's registered to vote at the home of a couple the paper describes as "longtime supporters and donors," where he says he stays when he's in the state, though I would hope that by now they'd be actual friends. I don't know whether it's legal to register to vote at an address where you just crash now and again, but of all the things you might not like about Pat Roberts, this is pretty far down the list. It does, however, show the absurd contradiction we demand from our politicians.More pundit excerpts can be found below the fold.
Greg Mitchell at The Nation is just short of gleeful in his good riddance piece His Loss Is Their Gain: Bill Keller Suddenly Exits 'New York Times':
Keller, increasingly an embarrassment at the New York Times as a columnist—after an up and down tenure as chief editor—announced tonight he is exiting the paper, just a month after he drew wide scorn for a column bullying a cancer victim, which was not mentioned in the Times' release.[...]Heidi Moore at The Guardian explains Why I'm not watching the Sochi Olympics:
Keller had recently supported a U.S. attack on Syria—apparently learning nothing from his boosterism of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He fully backed Judith Miller in the Scooter Libby case. He also famously mocked Julian Assange (after exploiting all those WikiLeaks leaks). Top executives at the Times nevertheless expressed surprise and wished him well.“Bill has made so many contributions to The Times over his 30 years here, it’s difficult to quantify them,” said Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., publisher of The New York Times. “He challenged his newsroom colleagues to innovate while remaining true to the highest journalistic standards, and we’re all better for it.One could have some fun with that but I will try to resist.
Political controversies and the Olympics are old friends. Protests and boycotts are nothing new to these games. Ban-ki Moon of the United Nations has spoken out against Russia's abuses, and enough foreign leaders have sworn to skip the games that Thomas Bach, head of the International Olympic Committee, slammed them for the "ostentatious gesture" and the harm to Olympic headlines. These boycotts also may not work. To many of us, without the power of world leaders, there's nothing to do but sigh, turn on the TV, and look past the atrocities to the games themselves.Michael Tomasky at the Los Angeles Times commits the ultimte heresy in Cute? Hardly. The Beatles subverted the American way of life.:
But we have power too: the power of the dollar, the power of our eyeballs and viewership. The International Olympic Committee is selling us to sponsors and television networks; they are making a very big bet that we will show up. The networks have spent billions over the years for the Olympics. The IOC sold the 2012 rights to NBC for $1.2bn. NBC paid $775m for the rights to the Sochi Olympics.
But what if we don't show up? Suddenly, the financial picture changes. That is the power that consumers have.
This year, to me, it seems like a mistake to ignore the human principles that are being trampled under the snow in Sochi. Many of the abuses in Russia – against gay rights, against the environment, against animals – came after the Olympic contract, almost as if Russian leaders were emboldened by the Olympic imprimatur and financing to not only continue abuses, but create new ones.
That's today's conventional wisdom: The Beatles were cute and unthreatening. The Rolling Stones—now, there was your threat. And the Who, smashing their instruments. And numerous others, against whom the Beatles were supposedly a dish of vanilla ice cream.Bill Fletcher Jr. at The Progressive writes To the Point:
It's ridiculous. If there's one canard I'd like to see these anniversary festivities flip on its head, it's that one. To the America that existed then, the Beatles were plenty threatening. To understand why, you have to understand the music scene of the time, and how utterly new the Beatles were in every way, how totally uncategorizable.
I don’t live in Vermont, but without question, Bernie Sanders is my Senator.Eric Zuesse at Op-Ed News writes Vulture Fund Kingpin Is the Top Financial Backer of Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte:
For the last few months, the word on the street has been that Sanders is contemplating a run for the Presidency. Sanders has hinted at the possibility but has not confirmed or denied that he may take the plunge.
Excitement around a possible Sanders run is palpable. After more than one term of the complicated, neoliberal Presidency of Barack Obama—combined with the relentless assaults by the political right on all that for more than sixty years appeared sacred—there is a deep and clear desire among many for a different direction.
Yet a Sanders run brings its own complications.
One issue is whether Sanders should run as a Democrat or as an independent.
Paul Singer, the billionaire head of the most aggressive vulture fund, Elliott Management, is the top financial backer of New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte. She recently introduced legislation to sock 4 million Latinos with an average tax-hike of $1,800.Paul Buchheit at Alternet explains 5 Ways Rich People's "Entitlements" Cheat You and Me:
Apparently, the Republican Party's "no new taxes" pledge doesn't prohibit tax-hikes against the poor—only against the rich.
Singer has an interesting background. His firm had controlled the bankrupt Delphi Auto Parts company in 2009 when U.S. taxpayers were rescuing the U.S. automotive industry. Singer's people then told the U.S. Government that if they didn't buy them off to the tune or $12.9 billion, Delphi would shutter its factories, and the U.S. auto plants of GM and Chrysler would have no steering columns and other vital parts, which would mean that the entire rescue of GM and Chrysler would fail. So, Singer's people got the money they demanded from U.S. taxpayers: U.S. auto workers took the hit instead (in addition to U.S. taxpayers).
One of Elliott Management's major investors then was Mitt Romney, the man who condemned the bailout of Chrysler and of GM, and who now walked off with "at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney's most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion.
he word 'entitlement' is ambiguous. For working people it means "earned benefits." For the rich, the concept of entitlement is compatible with the Merriam-Webster definition: "The feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)." Recent studies agree, concluding that higher social class is associated with increased entitlement and narcissism.John Judis at The New Republic says The New York Times Owes its Readers an Apology—Kristof's column on Dylan Farrow and Allen was out of bounds:
The sense of entitlement among the very rich is understandable, for it helps them to justify the massive redistribution of wealth that has occurred over the past 65 years, especially in the past 30 years. National investment in infrastructure, technology, and security has made America a rich country. The financial industry has used our publicly-developed communications technology to generate trillions of dollars in new earnings, while national security protects their interests. The major beneficiaries have convinced themselves they did it on their own. They believe they're entitled to it all.
Their entitlements can be summarized into four categories, each of which reveals clear advantages that the very rich take for granted.
I have tried to steer clear of the controversy created by the publication by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof of an open letter by Dylan Farrow alleging that Woody Allen molested her when she was seven years old. I have read some of the older news stories and Allen’s response today in The New York Times, but I haven’t studied the matter closely. Dylan Farrow’s account of molestation was vividly disturbing, and there are obviously cases where these kind of allegations have proven true. But there are also instances where childhood memories have proven fallible. (I had my own experience of repressing something that happened when I was seven.) So I am agnostic on the matter of who did what, but I am not agnostic on the propriety of The New York Times publishing Kristof’s column and Farrow’s open letter.
I know that columnists get wide latitude in saying what they want, but I don’t think that should be granted in an instance where someone is being accused of committing unpardonable. crimes. I think in such an instance every effort has to be made to be objective, and that includes who reports the story. Kristof, who appears to be a good friend of Mia Farrow, Dylan’s mother, would strike me as the very last person capable of offering a clear and fair view of that matter. That’s not a judgment on his journalism. I’d say this about anyone reporting on a matter where a friend was involved.