Monday, March 21, 2011

Catch of the Day

A group award, for a three-part takedown of an Alan Greenspan paper which attempted to give an economic justification to the GOP talking point about uncertainty. Paul Krugman sneered; Brad DeLong analyzed; and Kevin Drum supplied the context:
But all that aside — which is to say, aside from the actual truth of the uncertainty meme — it's impressive, as usual, that the conservative movement managed to find such a big name to put his name to defending the indefensible. After all, news reporters almost have to take the uncertainty meme seriously now, and that's really all that matter. Mission accomplished!
I suspect he's right. And more: Greenspan's paper focuses on stimulus and financial market regulation; that's the uncertainty he believes is spoiling the party. There's nothing, for example, about health care at all. But this is not apt to slow Republicans down; odds are that if they do wind up using Greenspan as Drum suggests they will, they won't hesitate to apply it far beyond what Greenspan said. I have to say, though, that I'm not convinced that the "uncertainty" claim will really survive very long; it's much more likely, in my view, that the GOP will go back to its all-purpose explanation that all economic growth is caused by tax cuts and all recessions are caused by tax increases. At any rate: great catch!



    Impeachment watch. I am sure nobody in the pool has Dennis Kucincih, though.

  2. I cannot stand the uncertainty argument; for it always is put out there with only one side of the argument told.

    There's another side. BP stockholders depended on the certainty of government regulation to protect their investments; millions of unemployed depended on the certainty of government regulation of the financial sector to protect their jobs. Put in an application for a business license today, and you're depending on the certainty that it will be processed in a timely manner; even if the office processing it is understaffed. We depend on the certainty that the Energy Dept. is collecting royalties from energy leases.

    It goes both ways; lack of effective and efficient government creates uncertainty, as well. This should be a central part of the discussions.

  3. And what would be more uncertain than funding the government three weeks at a time? Governance is tough when you are in the majority, especially when you have little but "voodoo economics," spin, and empty frames to work with.

  4. One simple question for Greenspan and all other yellow-bellied corporate water-carriers: When was business ever "certain?"

    Uncertainty is part of being a market player in a globalized information age - be a fucking businessman and deal with it. Don't come crying about it to the government, which you always claim has no place in business anyway.



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