Sunday, October 17, 2010
Foreclosures, real problems and the phantom middle wayThe press faith of High Broderism holds that if criticism is coming from "the left" and "the right", then the middle/moderate position must therefore be just the right thing. In practice, what they are willing to consider the middle moves farther and farther to the political right over time.
But what is often missing is the very important party context. The Democrats currently control the Executive and both Houses of the Legislative branches of the federal government. The Republicans are the opposition Party. The purpose of an opposition Party is to oppose. The Democrats were elected in 2008 on a different program than the Republicans. When Republicans oppose Obama and the Democrats from "the right", they are trying to build a new majority consensus for their programs in opposition to the Democratic program.
When criticism comes from "the left" inside the Democratic Party, especially in cases like the public option for health care where the criticism is based on a position popular among the majority of the public and an even larger majority within the Democratic Party itself, that has a whole different political significance for the incumbent President. It's one thing for the President to take stands in opposition to the opposition Party. It's a very different thing to take stands in opposition to a large majority of his own Party and his own base constituency. To our Pod Pundits, that automatically represents "political courage" and bipartisanship, the Holy Grail of High Broderism. Especially if it's a Democrat being bipartisan by supporting Republican positions.
Economist Paul Krugman looks at The Mortgage Morass (New York Times 10/14/2010) and points to some real problems in the current Administration's approach to the economic crisis.
Krugman favors Keynesian economic policies that Democrats could use to both great policy effect and political advantage. The fact that Obama and Harry Reid may not want to hear it doesn't mean that it's not good advice. Outside the Beltway Village bubble where dingy David Broder is considered The Dean Of All The Pundits and bipartisanship is bizarrely worshipped for its own sake (especially Dems being bipartisan by caving to Republicans), the actual content of criticism does matter.
Krugman accurately describes a set of problems whose scope and serious is not being nearly adequately addressed by the Obama Administration's policies at present. The fact that the Republicans' Predator State policies would be far worse doesn't change that fact:
The accounting scandals at Enron and WorldCom dispelled the myth of effective corporate governance. These days, the idea that our banks were well capitalized and supervised sounds like a sick joke. And now the mortgage mess is making nonsense of claims that we have effective contract enforcement — in fact, the question is whether our economy is governed by any kind of rule of law.And he spells out the inadequacy of the policy responses coming from the Obama Administration and the opposition Republicans:
True to form, the Obama administration's response has been to oppose any action that might upset the banks, like a temporary moratorium on foreclosures while some of the issues are resolved. Instead, it is asking the banks, very nicely, to behave better and clean up their act. I mean, that's worked so well in the past, right?Real problems need effective solutions. The mortgage crisis needs a solution that saves ordinary homeowners from fraudulent and unnecessary foreclosures by irresponsible financial institutions - including financial institutions only very recently bailed out by public funds.
Tags: paul krugman, us economy
| +Save/Share | |
Links to this post:
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
[Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
SEARCH THIS SITE
News & Media Links