Monday, March 24, 2008

Krugman on the amazing political silence on the economic crisis

Paul Krugman points to the general silence from McCain, Obama and Clinton on the current economic crisis.

He does point out the idiocy of McCain's economic advisor, Kevin Hassett, "...the co-author of “Dow 36,000” — [who] insisted that everything would have been fine if state and local governments hadn’t tried to limit urban sprawl." He does not point out that McCain's primary economic advisor, ex-Senator Phil Gramm, is the single most responsible individual (besides Alan Greenspan) for the current banking crisis. How? Gramm was the guy who pushed through the removal of the FDR era Glass-Stegall Act which separated retail banking from insurance and security banking and put retail banking under regulation to prevent the kinds of idiocies that have created the current banking crisis.

My bet is that Obama and Clinton haven't brought up the economic crisis because they essentially agree on both the causes and the cures. Such agreement is not going to create a competitive distinction between the two of them, so whichever becomes the Democratic nominee (probably Obama) will use it to distinguish between himself and the fish-in-a-barrel - uh, I mean target, McCain.

Since Bush is doing his best Herbert Hoover non-action routine as America's banking system collapses before our eyes and Ben Bernanke of the fed paddles desperately to try to shore up the mess given us by the Reagan Revolution, the Presidential election is rapidly becoming a competition between Republican fear-mongering and proposals for rational government presented by a half-Black, half-White Democratic candidate.

If America really is the great shining light on the hill that nationalists and nativists like to claim, then fear-mongering will fail completely. Since I happen to think that as great as America really is, it is also deeply flawed, unfortunately fear-mongering has a chance.

Still, I think that if he survives the campaign (I remember JFK, Martin Luther King and RFK quite well, all victims of fear) then I think we will see Barack Obama sworn in as President next January to preside over the worst Recession America has seen since the Great Depression.

But what do I know about the future? It wasn't too many months ago I thought the Presidential race was going to be between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. as for right now, it is clearly shaping up to be a race between fear-mongering, voter suppression and crooked elections on one side versus rational approaches to the difficult problems of the economy, the occupation of Iraq, and racism in America that the Bush administration no longer even addresses realistically.

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