It turns out a frog in cold water that is gradually heated will jump out once it gets too hot. My world view is shattered. Click here for details.
Some of you have written to say good-bye (so you’re probably not reading this) – there’s just too much here about politics, not enough money and boiling frogs.
But I tell you what I think. I think bad things are happening to our country – but gradually and in slow motion and with double-speak. (The tax cut, we’re told over and over, was not designed to help the rich but, rather, the unemployed.)
It comes so fast and furious, to those relatively few of us who follow the details, that it’s hard to keep up and it’s hard to write about anything else. (With just that in mind, Matt Bivens offers ‘The Daily Outrage’ at thenation.com. This one is about the third-ranking Republican in the House, Roy Blunt.)
So it’s great to learn that the frog jumps out of the water before it’s too late. It gives me hope that we will too.
And most of these things are about money! Certainly this excellent piece by Pete Peterson, that many of you commended to my attention, is. It’s from last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. (I’m that far behind.) Peterson, as you know, was Nixon’s Commerce Secretary and is Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. It begins:
I have belonged to the Republican Party all my life. . . . Among the bedrock principles that the Republican Party has stood for since its origins in the 1850’s is the principle of fiscal stewardship — the idea that government should invest in posterity and safeguard future generations from unsustainable liabilities. . . . Over the last quarter century, however, the Grand Old Party has abandoned these original convictions. Without ever renouncing stewardship itself — indeed, while talking incessantly about legacies, endowments, family values and leaving ”no child behind” — the G.O.P. leadership has by degrees come to embrace the very different notion that deficit spending is a sort of fiscal wonder drug. . . .
☞ Oh, and how can I resist excerpting this part?:
For the first time ever, a Republican leadership in complete control of our national government is advocating a huge and virtually endless policy of debt creation.
The numbers are simply breathtaking. When President George W. Bush entered office, the 10-year budget balance was officially projected to be a surplus of $5.6 trillion — a vast boon to future generations that Republican leaders ”firmly promised” would be committed to their benefit by, for example, prefinancing the future cost of Social Security. Those promises were quickly forgotten. . . .
☞ And how can I resist excerpting this?:
So there you have it: in just two years there was a $10 trillion swing in the deficit outlook. Coming into power, the Republican leaders faced a choice between tax cuts and providing genuine financing for the future of Social Security. (What a landmark reform this would have been!) They chose tax cuts. After 9/11, they faced a choice between tax cuts and getting serious about the extensive measures needed to protect this nation against further terrorist attacks. They chose tax cuts. After war broke out in the Mideast, they faced a choice between tax cuts and galvanizing the nation behind a policy of future-oriented burden sharing. Again and again, they chose tax cuts. . . .
The entire piece is worth reading, because it’s about your kids’ future prosperity, or lack thereof.
‘If this is class warfare, then my class is winning.’
– Warren Buffett
Quote of the Day
Your average Wall Streeter, faced with nothing profitable to do, does nothing for only a brief time. Then, suddenly and hysterically, he does something which turns out to be extremely unprofitable. He is not a lazy man.~Fred Schwed, Where Are the Customers' Yachts?
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