Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. – Mark Twain

Brother, can you spare a dime?

In The New York Times:

A Political Clash Over Deficits Stalls Legislation to Address Jobs


July 4, 2010

….Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, argued that fiscal discipline was vital to restoring confidence.

“Businesses are slow to hire because they fear higher taxes, job-killing regulation and a dysfunctional Washington that is ideologically driven and increasingly anti-business,” he said.

Mr. Brady added: “Unless their excessive spending deficits and debt accumulation are quickly reversed, the United States may experience a debt crisis similar to Greece.”

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, went even further. “I reject the false premise that only forceful and sustained government intervention in the economy can secure this country’s renewed prosperity,” he said last week….

Herbert Hoover would be so proud.

Jun 28, 2010

Rendering unto Krugman

….This calls to mind an old story:

But knowing their hypocrisy, he said unto them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a dime and let me see it.”

And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this — FDR’s or Herbert Hoover’s?”

They answered, “Roosevelt’s.”

And he said unto them, “Right. So shut up. Have you morons already forgotten the 20th Century? When the choice is between imitating what worked and what really, really didn’t work, why are you pretending it’s terribly complicated?”

And after that, no one dared to ask him any question.

I’m not an economist, but we’ve got five applicants for every single job opening. If you tell me that the best response to that situation is to lay off hundreds of thousands of teachers, I will not accept that this means that you’re smarter and more expert than I am. I will instead conclude — regardless of your prestige or position or years of study — that you’re a moral imbecile. And knowing what I know about your inability to make moral judgments I will have no reason to trust you to make complicated macroeconomic ones.

Digby (via Yellow Dog at They gave us a republic…):

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Bleeding The Patient

…Both Krugman and I have written that Keynesianism is counter-intuitive and hard to explain, but as Avedon Carol perspicaciously observed in this discussion, that’s not really true. She said “when the patient is hemorrhaging you give it a blood transfusion and right now the doctors are prescribing leeches.” It really is that simple…

Kevin Drum:

Lack of Growth Due to Lack of Customers

Sun Jul. 4, 2010 9:43 AM PDT

….As it happens, I’ve read conflicting evidence about whether or not it’s really small businesses that are usually the engines of job creation when the economy comes out of a recession. It seems to vary with the recession, and in any case the net difference between job creation in small vs. large businesses appears to be modest. Still, most of what Lee says here applies to large businesses too: lack of expansion right now is due less to credit woes than to simple lack of demand. Until consumers start spending again, economic growth is going to be weak. But what’s going to get consumers spending again?

Jobs. It really is that simple.