Europeans

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I came across this great comment in the NYT this morning, in response to Gail Collins Op-Ed, “Bill, Barack and Us”:


William O. Beeman, Minneapolis

Isn’t it clear that the Republicans believe that everything can be achieved through privatization and individual effort, whereas the Democrats espouse communitarian effort, especially for those projects that are beyond the scope of the individual? The Republicans have got the facts backward. A rising tide definitely raises all boats. They somehow believe that rising boats raise all tides.

Today I am writing from Europe–a place the right wing despises. Every public facility is planned with care, anticipating the needs of the public. Whatever it is–public parks, transportation, medical care, education–the public gets far more than it puts into the system.

In the U.S., the raw market-driven economy tries to give people as little as it possibly can for their money in order to maximize private profit. If you got rich by shorting the public, that’s fine for you, but for the rest of the country the end of the stick is very short.

The Europeans have lots of wealthy people among them–they are just not quite as wealthy as the American gazzilionaires and the result is no overt poverty, housing for everyone, care for the unemployed, no need for private transportation for most people and longer life-spans. Isn’t that worth the sacrifice of a second or third yacht? Apparently not for the Romney/Ryan crowd, for whom sickness, homelessness, and unemployment are seen as character flaws rather than artifacts of a broken social contract and badly skewed economic system rewarding greed
Sept. 6, 2012 at 2:49 a.m.

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Nobel prize winner in economics, Paul Krugman, has another good Op-Ed in the NYT this morning. I’ve been reading the comments to his article and found one I think is spot on and one-ups Paul. Here it is:

Dr. Krugman, without digging through dozens of books and articles, and hundreds of email newsletters and posts, I can’t say exactly how many I’ve read predicting both the current American disaster and explicating the stupid and selfish policies of the I.M.F., World Bank, and our Fed and financial system. America was drunk on power and self-satisfaction. Mr. Bush and his “team” — if that’s what we could call an emaciated shell of neocons and the likes of Greenspan and Paulson — were not borrowing from Peter to pay Paul but robbing both to support their bogus wars and pie-in-the-sky budgets. They deliberately pumped up the price of real-estate and allowed a reverse salami-tactic to add small slices of greed until finally the whole cancerous mess exploded in our and the world’s face.

Of course every word you write tonight makes sense, but I didn’t see the worst miscreants even mentioned. Yes, Rubin, Greenspan, and Summers were there about two-thirds of the way through the build-up of the house of cards, which began during Reagan’s first year in office. And, yes, they were blind to the disaster they were pushing further down the path. Mr. Clinton, who was so compromised after the CIA/Contra operation in Arkansas, was further weakened by scandal and Newt Gingrich, such that he stopped being a Democrat and rolled over to be an Eisenhower Republican (lite). Then along came liar George Bush, 9/11 (which somehow happened despite numerous warnings), the use of 9/11 as a pretext for what Mr. Bush had in mind all along, and the American people fat-dumb-and-happy from all the prosperity of the exploding housing market, which turned perhaps half the homes in the country into giant ATMs.

It is no wonder that Europeans don’t respect us, that U.S. G-20 efforts will be met with resistance. The one thing you say tonight with which I disagree is: “even when — as in this case — the Americans are right.” Perhaps from a purely economic perspective we’re more right than the Europeans, which is to say that they should make stronger stimulus efforts. Certainly you’re correct in saying that the whole world needs to pull together, especially the G-20 nations. But if we are deranged enough to think we can continue to wage war (or peace, or whatever today’s euphemism is) in Iraq and Afghanistan, maintain some 800 military bases around the world, be the de facto world cop, and march relentlessly ahead with our military budget, why would Europeans and others respect us? If we can’t simply pass a few laws about automobile mileage and emission standards and then enforce them, why would Europeans think we could lead the world economy? If we can’t figure out a way to shift to an economy based more on production and less on consumption — especially of foreign-made goods, again we can see why others are cynical about the U.S.’s ability to lead.

The ultimately ugly truth is that we are too hypocritical as a nation to be taken seriously by others. If a child’s parents are on drugs, they’d best not lecture the child about not using drugs.
— Butler Crittenden, San Francisco, CA

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