Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Institutional inflation-mongering: bogus hysterics in service of special interests & the economic elite

                                   David Leonhardt @ NYTimes' Biz Day writes: 
(Y)ou might think Fed officials would now be doing everything possible to ensure a solid recovery. But they’re not. 
Once again, many of them are worried that the Fed is doing too much. And once again, the odds are rising that it’s doing too little. 

Founders' feud

"My country is the world, my religion is to do good."

Given the Tea Partiers' feverish hijacking of American history, with their largely ignorant "WWTJD?" dogmatics ("What would Thomas Jefferson do?") offered as a simple-minded panacea to current problems, it's useful to look back at the complex and flawed human beings who occupied the "origins" piece of our complicated and often painful history. 

For example, "founding fathers" John Adams and Thomas Paine hated each other. Adams called Paine's clarion 1776 manifesto "Common Sense," an "ignorant, malicious, short-sighted, crapulous mass."  Paine's opinion of Adam's tenure in the White House?  "Some people talk of impeaching John Adams, but I am for softer measures. I would keep him to make fun of."

Historian William Hogeland has a fascinating essay (posted at Naked Capitalism & New Deal 2.0) on the roots of this mutual antipathy, entitled "How Thomas Paine and John Adams Clashed Over Income Inequality." He brings Paine, in particular, into clearer focus and in regard to one of our very real and pressing current problems that has not been solved in the ensuing 200-plus years - a problem that, in truth, is getting much worse.

Some excerpts from Hogeland's piece that are especially interesting:
The Paine-Adams antipathy wasn’t just personal. Its sources lay in the founding generation’s deep political divisions over economic equality...

Part 4 of "Common Sense" primer on the deficit hype is up at Winning Progressive

This piece focuses on the attacks on Social Security and the real need to control rapidly rising health care costs as a piece of our overall spending, whether the government is providing insurance via Medicare or not.  Thanks to the folks at Winning Progressive for spreading the word!