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Gerry Clinchy
11-16-2010, 10:03 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/opinion/16brooks.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a212

David Brooks writes:



One could go on. Itís become harder to have confidence that legislators can successfully enact the brilliant policies that liberal technicians come up with. Far from entering the age of macroeconomic mastery and social science triumph, we seem to be entering an age in which statecraft is, once again, an art, not a science. When you look around the world at the countries that have come through the recession best, itís not the countries with the brilliant and aggressive stimulus models. Itís the ones like Germany that had the best economic fundamentals beforehand.

It all makes one doubt the wizardry of the economic surgeons and appreciate the old wisdom of common sense: simple regulations, low debt, high savings, hard work, few distortions. You donít have to be a genius to come up with an economic policy like that.

Gerry Clinchy
11-16-2010, 10:08 AM
Perhaps in line with this ... yesterday Michael Medved had a caller who had been involved in Kenya in providing direct micro-loans to individuals.

That caller said she was told: "Tell your government to stop sending money," because govt aid got diverted to support corrupt officials more than help the individual populace. The only way to assure that real aid got to the populace was through directly putting the aid through to individuals. So, such things as Feed The Children (& some other org mentioned) were much more effective than government aid.

Worth thinking about.

Buzz
11-16-2010, 01:35 PM
Interesting what Brooks says about Germany... :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

I wonder where he gets his facts, because they don't seem to match with reality.


What About Germany?

Many people are now holding Germany up as proof that austerity is good.

There are a number of reasons that’s foolish, among them the fact that Germany’s austerity policies have not yet begun — up to this point they’ve actually been quite Keynesian.

But it’s also worth having some perspective on actual German performance to date. Here’s a chart:

http://www.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/germany_us.PNG



Everything you’ve been hearing is about that uptick at the end. But I’m not willing to declare an economy that has yet to recover to the pre-crisis level of GDP an economic miracle.

Basically, here’s the German story: it’s an economy that didn’t have a housing bubble, so it wasn’t caught up directly in the bust. But it’s very export-oriented, with a focus on durable manufactured goods. Demand for these goods plunged in the early stages of the crisis — so that Germany, remarkably, had a bigger GDP decline than the bubble economies — but has bounced back since summer 2009. This has pulled Germany back up; exports to China have done especially well.

If there’s a slam-dunk argument for austerity in there, it’s remarkably well hidden.

What do you think they would call a "jobs program" like the one Germany engaged in here in the good old USA?


Germany Keeps Employees at Posts Even Without Work
By NICHOLAS KULISH
Published: July 31, 2009

REUTLINGEN, GERMANY -- Even as the German economy suffers through its worst slump since World War II, the government announced surprisingly upbeat jobs figures for the largest European economy Thursday.

The apparent resilience of the labor market is indicative of an approach seized upon by Germany to combat the punishing recession here: keeping workers out of unemployment, whether they have work to do or not.

...

Economists estimate that the government-subsidized program of short working hours -- known as Kurzarbeit -- has helped avert roughly 400,000 layoffs so far, with between 1.3 million and 1.4 million people in the short-time program, according to government estimates. Under the program, the government makes up roughly two thirds of a worker's lost wages out of a fund filled through payroll deductions and company contributions.


Or how about this???

http://www.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/us_g_y.PNG

Buzz
11-16-2010, 01:35 PM
And this???



Yes, Germany did better on employment ó but this reflects policies that American conservatives surely donít support, including employment subsidies, strong unions, and rules making it difficult to fire workers.

And what may be even more surprising: if we look at actual government purchases of goods and services, as opposed to transfer payments (many of them just payments from the federal government to states), Germany was more Keynesian than the United States:

http://www.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/us_g_g.PNG


Seems like it would be nice if Brooks would do a little research before he fills the pages of the NYT with BS...;-)

Hew
11-16-2010, 03:14 PM
Seems like it would be nice if Brooks would do a little research before he fills the pages of the NYT with BS...;-)
Brooks should read Krugman's op-ed blogs for "research" before he writes his own op-ed blog? Really? I hope you were laughing as hard when you wrote that as I did when I read it.

Buzz
11-16-2010, 03:44 PM
Brooks should read Krugman's op-ed blogs for "research" before he writes his own op-ed blog? Really? I hope you were laughing as hard when you wrote that as I did when I read it.

Yes, I suppose it would be much better to just swallow the BS that Brooks comes up with. Enjoy every sandwich indeed...

I did laugh pretty hard when I saw Brooks pointing to those socialist europeans as a shining example of "getting it just right."

I laughed even harder with your criticism of my reading the Krugman Blog, just after reading this in the comments section below Brooks' article.


Well, with all due respect, this argument reminds me of the times I had to argue with peers as a high school student, when I was told that my propensity to read too much just made me too smart, too likely to look down on those who did not like to read as much as I did.


And while I'm on the topic of things that make me smile, I may as well include another graph from the Krugman Blog (knowing how much you've always loved Henry's pictures). I think of this every time I hear a Republican say, families don't spend money that they don't have, and government shouldn't either. To me it illustrates just why we are in the fix we're in. Cut my taxes, but keep them wars and other services flowing! Americans get the government that they deserve...


http://www.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/hdebt.PNG

Hew
11-16-2010, 04:59 PM
I laughed even harder with your criticism of my reading the Krugman Blog, just after reading this in the comments section below Brooks' article.

Quote:
Well, with all due respect, this argument reminds me of the times I had to argue with peers as a high school student, when I was told that my propensity to read too much just made me too smart, too likely to look down on those who did not like to read as much as I did.

I wasn't criticizing your reading/cut-n-pasting of a Krugman Blog (without attribution to Krugman, of course, as you're often want to do when your source is Krugman or some Daily Kos moonbat...but I digress). I was criticizing (well, mocking would be more accurate) your notion that Brooks couldn't have researched his opinion piece without having consulted Krugman's opinion piece.

And since you brought it up...yes, you and Krugman are kindred spirits in that you like to remind how much smarter you think you are than everyone else.

Gerry Clinchy
11-16-2010, 05:13 PM
Wouldn't you say, Buzz, that the increase in US consumer debt had something to do with the housing bubble? And, of course, during that time people were going kind of nuts with their credit cards & in taking out home equity loans. the peak in 2005 might also correspond to when the housing bubble started to burst.

And the last date shown was May 2009 when it appears on a down trajectory. Would be interesting to see what the graph looks like now.

Buzz
11-17-2010, 11:44 AM
I wasn't criticizing your reading/cut-n-pasting of a Krugman Blog (without attribution to Krugman, of course, as you're often want to do when your source is Krugman or some Daily Kos moonbat...but I digress). I was criticizing (well, mocking would be more accurate) your notion that Brooks couldn't have researched his opinion piece without having consulted Krugman's opinion piece.

And since you brought it up...yes, you and Krugman are kindred spirits in that you like to remind how much smarter you think you are than everyone else.

So, if Krugman is so wrong and Brooks is so right, maybe you can dig up some stats that support his assertion.

You would get along well with a serial commenter on Krugman's blog posts, a guy that calls himself Sean from Florida...:rolleyes:

Gerry, I can't find any stats more recent than those shown in that chart. It occurs to me that there is more than one way for the numbers to drop off. It could be folks are not taking out loans and that they are paying down the ones they have. They could also default.

Gerry Clinchy
11-18-2010, 02:10 PM
Gerry, I can't find any stats more recent than those shown in that chart. It occurs to me that there is more than one way for the numbers to drop off. It could be folks are not taking out loans and that they are paying down the ones they have. They could also default.

Yes, I'd agree some decrease in debt since then could be related to the defaults. Also, it has been mentioned in the media a number of times that people who still have jobs are not spending ... they ARE saving & paying down debt.