MyFriendRoger pointed me to a good post by economist Brad DeLong, who expresses his bitterness with the wreck the Bush administration has made of the economy:
Why do so many of us who worked so hard on economic policy for the Clinton administration, and who think of ourselves as mostly part of a sane and bipartisan center, find the Bush administration and its Republican congressional lapdogs so... disgusting, loathsome, contemptible? Why are we so bitter?
After introspection, the answer for me at least as clear. We worked very hard for years to repair the damage that Ronald Reagan and company had done to America's fisc. We strained every nerve and muscle to find politically-possible and popularly-palatable ways to close the deficit, and put us in a position in which we can at least begin to think about the generational long-run problems of financing the retirement of the baby-boom generation and dealing with the rapidly-rising capabilities and costs of medicine. We saw a potential fiscal train wreck far off in the future, and didn't ignore it, didn't shrug our shoulders, didn't assume that it would be someone else's problem, but rolled up our sleeves and set to work.
Then the Bush people come in. And in two and a half years they trash the place. They trash the place deliberately. They trash the place casually. They trash the place gleefully. They undo our work for no reason at all--just for the hell of it. [...]
And every single senior Republican economic policy appointee comes out of a look back at the past three years looking very badly. X fails to organize meetings so that the long-run budgetary consequences of short-run policy moves are properly considered. Y pirouettes in midair and transforms from a deficit hawk into a deficit dove so as not to offend White House Media Affairs. Z lowballs the interest rate effects of higher deficits--and manages not to talk about the savings and investment effects at all. W mutters in the privacy of his own office about the importance of maintaining a surplus--but doesn't have the nerve to say "Boo!" to a goose (let alone to George W. Bush) once he steps outside his office door. V remains silent while the clown show that is the Bush economic policy process--a process he cannot view with equanimity--rolls forward. U cuts his own agency staff off at the knees and shows no interest in the very important and interesting work on the long-run fiscal options that they have done. Outsiders like R who assured me back in the fall of 2000 that Bush understood and would tackle the long-run problems of funding entitlements and the social-insurance state manage not to emit a public peep of complaint. Q talks about how much the president wants to reduce the deficit without daring to put his own position on the line within the administration by demanding that words like "deficits are bad" be accompanied by an actual plan to reduce the deficit. Every one. Every single last one.
And it is worth pointing out that it's not just the economic policymakers. The same holds true of all the other executive-branch Republican political appointees: defense, international affairs, science policy, social policy. Is there anybody (with the exceptions of John Donaldson and Mark McClellan) who has emerged or [will] emerge from this administration [with anything] like a reputation? And it's all the Republican senators and members of congress as well. People who used to have some claim to respect--paging Pete Domenici, anyone?--have simply rolled over and played dead.
"Is George W. Bush the worst president ever?" is the question that George Akerlof asks. A fish rots from the head, yes. But this fish is rotted all the way down to the tail.
Delong's bitterness is rooted in his professionalism and sense of duty to the country, but it encapsulates the way a lot of us feel, and how we've been feeling since the day in December 2000 when five biased and blatantly political Supreme Court justices stopped the lawful counting of votes in Florida and handed the White House to George W. Bush, in flagrant disregard of the law and common sense, in the process disrespecting democracy and every person who cast a vote in that election (and not just those who voted for Gore -- every participant in a democratic election has a vested interest in all votes being counted in a fair and impartial manner.)
Roger's reaction to DeLong's post captures as well some of our fears for the future. I post it here with his permission. [Edited by me -- Ed]
Having read enough of these economists, I am really convinced that if Bush wins re-election [sic] and continues to pursue the kinds of policies he has been pursuing to date, there will be a full-fledged economic meltdown in the U.S. (and, possibly, by extension the world) within a decade. To appreciate what I'm saying, you need to really think in terms of a Great Depression of some kind. I mean, all of us will be unemployed. I mean the economy will go into freefall. I mean, the U.S. could wind up declining into a genuine "second-rank" status.
I think, in short, that we may be standing on a genuine precipice.
There is literally a kind of insanity loose in our nation. The rightwingers are literally engaged in a kind of mass delusional behavior.
Depressingly, I am very certain that if (a) the Democrats do manage to win in 2004, and (b) they then somehow manage to keep the train from flying off the tracks, then (c) the rightwingers won't admit any wrongdoing or short-sightedness. They will, instead, be champing at the bit trying to regain power so that they can resume ALL of the idiocies they've been doing.
I keep thinking about how, in the last days of WWII -- as Berlin was under seige by Russian forces -- Nazi thugs were running around, finding 8 and 10 year old boys who were hiding rather than throwing themselves (armed only with sticks) against Russian infantry and armor. They would declare these boys "cowards" and "traitors," and hang them from streetlamps. They had time to do this even as their city was being overrun by Russian shock troops! Nothing -- literally not even the end of the world -- was quite enough to instill even an iota of doubt into the minds of these fiends.
Will we have to go through something similarly catastrophic?
What will be less painful and permanently disabling for ourselves and our nation: having the Democrats win in 2004, only to have to endure four or eight or twelve years of hate and deadlock just as Clinton experienced (along with all the brick-brats they can and will throw from their perch in Congress and the Courts) and then to experience yet another Bush-like slimeball winning office...
... Or would it be ultimately less painful to have Bush re-elected, along with a GOP-controlled Congress, so that when the nation runs into the brick wall and everything starts to crumble, there will be a chance that it'll be like the Great Depression all over gain: the rightwingers will be discredited massively, utterly, and driven to the political wilderness for a generation or more?
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
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Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.